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

The saga around embattled North West premier Supra Mahumapelo took yet another twist on Wednesday, with the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) announcing that he will not resign, but will rather take a "leave of absence".

This was after the ANC’s national officials told Mahumapelo to resign voluntarily or face being recalled.

Mahumapelo was expected to announce his decision to resign at a media conference at 10am on Wednesday morning, but the briefing was "postponed indefinitely".

On Tuesday evening, the North West PEC had issued a statement welcoming Mahumapelo’s decision to resign, but changed its tune on Wednesday after it held a meeting, which was chaired by the premier — he is also the ANC North West chairman.

Acting provincial secretary Susan Dantjie announced at a media briefing after the PEC meeting that Mahumapelo would not resign, but rather take a "leave of absence".

The PEC had instructed Mahumapelo to withdraw his resignation, apparently tendered to the speaker of the provincial legislature, and appoint an acting premier to replace him while he is on leave.

The duration of his leave of absence will be based on the work of an interministerial task team, led by Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Dantjie said it would conclude once the Dlamini-Zuma team reported back on its findings, after it was sent to the province to investigate the state of governance in the North West by the national government.

"Only the ANC provincial leadership working with the national leadership can recall a deployee or advise them to resign voluntarily once it is satisfied with all the facts presented," she said.

The PEC would continue discussions with the ANC’s national leadership.

Premiers are selected by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC), after the provincial party leadership submits three names to fill the post. It is then up to the NEC to select the premier.

Mahumapelo was told by the ANC officials that if he did not resign, members of the provincial legislature would be instructed to vote him out in a motion of no confidence — a move that would cause him to lose his benefits.