Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
Focus of protest: Supra Mahumapelo, the premier of North West. A presidential team will ask him to resign voluntarily, in the interests of the people of the province and the ANC. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Focus of protest: Supra Mahumapelo, the premier of North West. A presidential team will ask him to resign voluntarily, in the interests of the people of the province and the ANC. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The ANC is approaching the removal of North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo in a manner similar to the way it got rid of former president Jacob Zuma.

The party’s national working committee is sending its officials — including President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza — to meet Mahumapelo to discuss a solution to the impasse.

The ANC confirmed the meeting of its officials and Mahumapelo in a statement on Thursday.

The governing party also said in the statement that the national working committee had discussed leadership issues in other provinces.

The talks with Mahumapelo would include calling on him to resign "in the interest of the people of the North West ... and the movement broadly".

Insiders say that Mahumapelo is unlikely to defy the ANC leadership and that his lieutenants in the province are understood to be mobilising support for him.

Fear was expressed in the national working committee meeting that other provinces may follow a similar approach to remove sitting premiers. There are also jitters about a possible backlash from Mahumapelo’s supporters. Should he fail to resign as North West premier, a special national executive committee meeting would be convened to recall him from office. This national executive committee meeting would probably sit on Monday.

This approach is similar to that adopted by Ramaphosa to remove Zuma in February. It culminated in Zuma resigning with immediate effect.

The North West has been gripped by protests for three months, with calls from the ANC, the South African Communist Party and Cosatu for Mahumapelo’s removal.

The Cabinet placed the provincial health department under administration last week.

It is understood further national government intervention was expected.

More pressure is being piled on Mahumapelo from outside the ANC.

The EFF in the province on Thursday wrote to the speaker of the North West legislature requesting a date for a motion of no confidence in him to be held as soon as possible.

The EFF had withdrawn its earlier request for the motion as it awaited the conclusion of court processes to allow for a secret ballot.

In terms of the leadership challenges referred to in the ANC statement, Business Day understands this included the Eastern Cape, where there are moves to replace the premier.

According to a letter from the office of secretary-general Ace Magashule that Business Day has seen, two national organisers would be sent to the province to intervene.

marriann@businesslive.co.za

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