Detractors take fight to Supra Mahumapelo

2015-10-25 08:40
Supra Mahumapelo

Supra Mahumapelo

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North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo is embroiled in a bitter spat with one of his critics whom he accused of being among those “running a campaign to get him killed and instigating violence against him”.

But Thabo Molamu, a friend of murdered businessman Wandile Bozwana, said the post on his Facebook page about “killing Supra” related to his dog, which he said was also called Supra.

In the post, Molamu wrote: “Supra killed Bozwana and we must kill Supra [my dog]. Supra is a dog and it deserves nothing else but death.”

In a statement released on the ANC North West’s letterhead, an angry Mahumapelo said Molamu had “for the past two weeks consistently run a campaign, particularly on social-media platform Facebook, for [him] to be killed, using the unfortunate death of businessman Mr Wandile Bozwana”.

Bozwana was murdered in what seemed like a classic hit at the Garsfontein offramp on the N1 in Pretoria earlier this month. His assailants shot him nine times while he was inside a car.

Bozwana was one of Mahumapelo’s most vocal critics, and was killed just four days after a Constitutional Court battle against the North West government.

The provincial government had begun action to stop one of Bozwana’s companies from attaching state vehicles and a bank account with a R30 million balance, which the murdered businessman said was owed to him.

After his death, Bozwana’s business associates and friends immediately took to social-media sites insinuating that Mahumapelo had been behind the hit.

But the North West premier has vehemently denied any involvement. He has also lodged civil claims against some of those making the allegations, including Molamu.

But a defiant Molamu said they would take to the streets to campaign for Mahumapelo’s demise.

He wrote on Facebook this week: “We are protesting against the Premier of the North West for the next 7 days until he resigns. #‎SupraMustFall.”

Sello Mogodiri of the North West Business Forum, the body that is planning to march against Mahumapelo, said Bozwana’s killing exposed the suppression of freedom of expression in North West.

“Our assessment is that the provincial government leadership is irritated by dissenting views and criticism,” he said.

Mogodiri said they had expected government to give citizens a hearing, but instead Mahumapelo had opted to lay a criminal case and lawsuits against his opponents.

“He has opened a criminal case against the friends of Bozwana and the citizens of North West. The premier cannot demand millions of rands from ordinary people. He must abandon that desire.

“Our members feel that the premier wants to get rich quickly through the courts,” he said.

Mogodiri said Mahumapelo must “choose whether he wanted to be in business or in government”.

He said he was worried that “the threat of legal action against ordinary citizens would in future deter those who wanted to raise their views against government”.

Mogodiri said the premier had, shortly before Bozwana’s death, also threatened him with legal action. Mahumapelo had also launched a defamation suit against Bozwana before the businessman was killed. Mogodiri said those lawsuits should have instead been directed at the business forum.

North West police spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko confirmed that Mahumapelo had opened a case of intimidation and defamation of character at Mmabatho Police Station in Mahikeng last week. Ramaloko said police were still investigating the issue, and no arrests had been made.

Explaining why Mahumapelo had opened the cases, his office said: “While Mr Mahumapelo recognises that being a politician opens him up to a lot of unfounded allegations, it is the criminal nature of [the] utterances, which in effect incite violence and even murder against Mr Mahumapelo, which cannot be ignored.”

The ANC in the North West has come out in defence of Mahumapelo who is the party provincial chairperson.

“As the ANC we view this as a political attack on our chairperson (which is) an attack on the ANC. It is unfortunate that (Bozwana’s) tragic death came on the eve of local government elections and some opposition are using this tragic death as a tool to gun for unwarranted votes,” said provincial ANC secretary Dakota Legoete.

“As the ANC we believe that our chairperson is innocent and has no link to the death of Comrade Bozwana. We also would like to see the closure of the matter with the culprits locked behind bars.”
Read more on:    supra mahumapelo  |  wandile bozwana

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