Supra Mahumapelo. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Supra Mahumapelo. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

Supra Mahumapelo, an ally of former president Jacob Zuma, has been reinstated as the ANC’s North West chair by the high court in Johannesburg.

This is a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa and his clean-up campaign in the ANC. It also comes ahead of his state of the nation address on Thursday and the crucial 2019 general elections. 

Mahumapelo was part of the group that met Zuma at the Maharani Hotel in Durban where a plot to unseat Ramaphosa was allegedly discussed. 

Mahumapelo and four others approached the court in a bid to have the ANC’s national executive committee’s (NEC) decision to disband the provincial leadership overturned. 

Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane on Wednesday found that the decision by the NEC to disband the North West provincial executive committee was “procedurally unfair” and breached the ANC’s constitution as well as the constitutional rights of the applicants. 

“The decision of the ANC, made on August 31, 2018, to disband the North West provincial executive committee (PEC) is declared unlawful and set aside,” she said.  

“The decision of the NEC of September 20 2018 to appoint a provincial task team (PTT) is declared unlawful and set aside.”

Kathree-Setiloane ordered that the provincial executive committee (PEC) be reinstated within two days of her order. 

Mahumapelo was forced to resign as premier of the North West in 2018 following political turmoil, with riots and violent demonstrations against him. Mahumapelo had initially refused to stand down.

Shortly after his resignation as premier, the ANC NEC took the decision to disband the North West PEC and replace it with a provincial task team, of which Mahumapelo was a part. 

Kathree-Setiloane found that the ANC had not done proper consultation before making the decision to disband the PEC. 

She also said the party had failed to give proper reasons for the decision. She referred to an ANC statement at the time, which also did not set out the reasons for the decision. 

This is despite the ANC, in its answering papers to the court, claiming the reasons were the protests in the province. 

Kathree-Setiloane has now interdicted the provincial task team from carrying out any functions conferred on it by the NEC and the ANC constitution. 

She has also ordered that the ANC pay the costs of the application.

The ANC said it noted the judgment and would study it and make a decision on the way forward. 

“The ANC will follow its internal processes in dealing with the matter at hand,” it said.