Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Picture: SUPPLIED
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Picture: SUPPLIED

Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will on Tuesday announce details of the takeover of the troubled North West by the national government.

National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise said on Sunday that her office had received communication from President Cyril Ramaphosa on the Cabinet’s decision to invoke section 100 (1) of the Constitution to tackle the problems facing the province.

The platinum-rich North West contributed 6% to the national economy in 2016 — the third-smallest contribution of the nine provinces — but its economy shrunk 3.6% in the last quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter in the previous year, according to Statistics SA.

The intervention follows more than a month of violent protests over corruption, maladministration and poor development in the largely rural province.

The takeover is the latest development in the political battle for control of the province. Last week, Premier Supra Mahumapelo reversed his decision to resign after it became clear that one of his many detractors, Zakes Tolo, would replace him.

Mahumapelo took a "leave of absence" instead and appointed his loyalist Wendy Nelson to act as premier. While the government has moved in to sideline the defiant Mahumapelo and his allies, opposition parties are adamant that this is not enough because Mahumapelo and his executive will remain in their positions until the intervention is concluded.

The Sunday Times reported that Ramaphosa’s dramatic intervention in the North West included placing 12 of the province’s 18 municipalities under the supervision of the national Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. "The 12 are among those distressed in the province. It is not a complete takeover, more oversight and supervision," said Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Dlamini-Zuma’s spokesman, Mlungisi Mtshali, said on Sunday that the interministerial committee she led would flesh out the details of the intervention on Tuesday. The minister presented what has been described by senior ANC leaders as a "scathing" preliminary report on governance in the North West.

Modise said in a statement that Parliament would "process Ramaphosa’s letter accordingly". The National Council of Provinces exercises an oversight role over the intervention.

EFF chairwoman in the North West Betty Diale said the EFF had given Mahumapelo’s government a deadline to remove Nelson as acting premier, claiming her appointment was unconstitutional.

Should it fail to remove her, the EFF would approach the courts. Diale said that the party was also waiting for the legislature to announce the date for its motion of no confidence in Mahumapelo.

In yet another twist, the ANC’s provincial executive committee submitted a revised list of members of the provincial legislature for the North West.

According to a letter from acting provincial secretary Susan Dantjie, submitted on May 8, the ANC provided seven new names to the Electoral Commission of SA. This is probably an attempt by the North West ANC to swing the numbers in Mahumapelo’s favour. The list was gazetted last week.