North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The ANC’s national working committee is expected to deliberate on North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s fate on Monday after protesters called for his head last week.

Parts of the town of Mahikeng went up in flames as residents protested for almost a week, demanding the removal of Mahumapelo as premier.

Later in the week the protests spread to other towns in the province.

President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short his visit to the UK, where he was attending the Commonwealth heads of government meeting, to return to SA on Friday to deal with the protests that have so far claimed at least one life.

Madoda Sambatha, provincial secretary for the South African Communist Party in North West, said on Sunday Ramaphosa had asked for time to tackle the matter.

These are matters that are serious enough to enable us to discuss the matters broadly with people as quickly as possible on an urgent basis and [to] ensure that we are able to get all the information, which will then empower us to take a decision going forward

According to Sambatha, who attended the meeting addressed by Ramaphosa on Friday, along with ANC officials and other alliance partners, the president indicated the calls would be discussed by the ANC’s top six officials on Monday. After that meeting, the national working committee would also discuss the matter, said Sambatha.

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe did not respond to many requests for comment on the agenda of the national working committee meeting.

In a media briefing held after the meeting in Mahikeng on Friday, Ramaphosa called for calm. He said that the issues raised had to do with "the position of the premier", governance and corruption in the province.

"These are matters that are serious enough to enable us to discuss the matters broadly with people as quickly as possible on an urgent basis and [to] ensure that we are able to get all the information, which will then empower us to take a decision going forward," he said.

The matter would be discussed in the government as well as in party structures such as the national working committee and the national executive committee.

Sambatha said Ramaphosa’s visit to Mahikeng had led to calm being restored in the town.

Brig Sabata Mokgwabone, provincial police spokesman in North West, confirmed this, saying it had been "quiet since after the visit of the president".

He said the police had not experienced any major issues since then and the situation had been stabilised.

Mokgwabone said that 23 suspects would appear in the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

Mahumapelo has been linked to the controversial Gupta family and criticised for defending their lavish Sun City wedding in his 2016 state of the province address.

Recently he has come under fire after Rapport reported that state-owned arms manufacturer Denel gave his son a R1.1m bursary. Denel has since denied it was in contravention of the company’s policy, saying that bursaries were awarded to two other students based on the same criteria.

The premier was also under fire after the provincial health department allegedly paid Gupta-linked company Mediosa R30m up front and made further payments of R180m to the company in a questionable contract for mobile clinics.

The Sunday Times reported that Mahumapelo had given former president Jacob Zuma a herd of cattle worth R1.5m as a gift. The alleged gift was paid for using public funds that were meant to assist emerging farmers. The paper reported the cattle were delivered to Zuma’s Nkandla residence and signed for by the former president.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said the unit was investigating these allegations.

Meanwhile, the EFF has written to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, asking her to investigate Zuma and Mahumapelo on the allegations about the herd of cattle.

The EFF reiterated its call for Mahumapelo to step down as premier.

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