Madoda Sambatha. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Madoda Sambatha. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Opposition parties and ANC alliance partners will be watching closely to see who will replace Supra Mahumapelo as premier of North West province.

Mahumapelo announced on Wednesday that he had voluntarily resigned from the position. He retains the chairmanship of the party in the province. The fate of his provincial executive committee was expected to be discussed at the ANC’s national executive committee meeting this weekend.

Mahumapelo’s resignation followed weeks of political turmoil and violent protests in North West, resulting in the national government taking over the running of some departments. Calls for his resignation were prominent in violent protests, and at the heart of this were allegations of corruption and state capture against him.

Earlier in May, ANC national officials asked Mahumapelo to resign or face being recalled.

At the time he was expected to tender his resignation but the provincial executive committee, after a meeting that he chaired, announced he would not resign but take a leave of absence. Mahumapelo reportedly withdrew his resignation when he realised he would be replaced by someone aligned to President Cyril Ramaphosa and not one of his loyalists.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the ANC’s national executive committee would discuss who would replace the premier.

The EFF said it would drop its challenge to the appointment of an acting premier, but would be watching to see who the ANC put in Mahumapelo’s place.

"We’re just relieved he is out of the position… Whoever they bring as a candidate they must just do themselves a favour and bring forward a credible candidate. North West has had enough of corruption, we’ve had enough of corrupt premiers," EFF leader in the province Betty Diale said.

The ANC’s alliance partner, the South African Communist Party, said it had accepted Mahumapelo’s resignation.

SACP provincial secretary Madoda Sambatha said the situation should never have been allowed to get to this point.

"We should have acted a long time ago, applied corrective measures and helped government not to go down the drain," Sambatha said.

On who the SACP thought should be appointed premier, he said the party would give the ANC space to discuss the issue.

DA North West leader Joe McGluwa said the resignation was a step in the right direction, but that it did not shield Mahumapelo from accounting for the long list of corruption allegations against him.