Supra Mahumapelo Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Supra Mahumapelo Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo‚ one Jacob Zuma’s staunchest supporters‚ remained full of praise for the former head of state following his resignation.

Mahumapelo was part of a group that fiercely defended Zuma throughout his scandal-filled presidency.

On Thursday‚ Mahumapelo credited Zuma with successes ranging from turning around the economy‚ along with rural development‚ the fight against HIV/AIDS and raising life expectancy.

Asked if Zuma owed South Africans an explanation for his relationship with the Gupta brothers‚ Mahumapelo said: "He doesn’t have to explain to you and me.

"But if he is called upon to do so‚ he has always said that he will co-operate with whatever agency enforces the rule of law."

Mahumapelo said he was not supporting Zuma because of his fondness for him as a person‚ but because he was an elected ANC president.

"We supported him because he came up with one of the most radical programmes of infrastructure development when the economy was not doing well. He made that intervention and it worked."

He said Zuma had made some mistakes‚ but he was happy that the former president had admitted as much during his pre-resignation speech.

Mahumapelo said he was not sad that Zuma could not finish his term‚ but he called for the ANC to handle changes in leadership better in the future.

"Let us deal with this transition because it’s messing up SA. Either we synchronise the terms [of office of the ANC and state presidents] or we must come up with mechanisms of managing the transitions‚" he said.

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