Nearly three years ago, North West premier Supra Mahumapelo proudly heralded the reopening of Mahikeng Airport — and the resumption of flights between the airport and Johannesburg — as a major step in revitalising his province’s economy. Mahumapelo revealed that SA Express, the small state-owned airline set up in 1994 to "offer connectivity to secondary and main airports", would be flying between North West’s capital, Mahikeng, and two destinations — Joburg’s OR Tambo International and Pilanesberg — three times a week. "We said that we will make this practical and I am very happy that SA Express and all stakeholders came to the party to make this a reality in line with our saamtrek, saamwerk [pull together, work together] philosophy," Mahumapelo said. That was in 2015, long before images of North West in flames dominated television screens and newspaper headlines, and angry residents called on Mahumapelo to "stop making excuses and step down". Right now, the breaking point is that M...

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