ANC NW regional leaders aligned to Mahumapelo come to his defence

2018-04-24 20:14
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. (Tiro Ramatlhatse, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. (Tiro Ramatlhatse, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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WATCH: School set alight in North West protest

2018-04-24 11:47

A municipal has been set alight in Stella near Vryburg in the North West, in what is believed to be part of the anti-Supra Mahumapelo protests. WATCH

The call for North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo to go is a part of a well thought-out programme, targeting certain provinces and senior ANC leaders who are viewed as being too powerful and pro-radical economic transformation.

This is according to pro-Mahumapelo supporters within the ANC, who said they were representatives of ANC regions in the province.

They held a press conference in the capital Mahikeng on Tuesday to slam those calling for the embattled premier to go. 

They claimed that the three targeted provinces were North West, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

'It cannot be allowed to happen'

The chairpersons of the three provinces were previously called the "Premier League" and were considered a powerful lobby group that defended Jacob Zuma during his tenure as president and supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's failed presidential bid.

Parts of the North West have been plunged into chaotic and violent protests, marred by scenes of looting and the destruction of property.

At least one person, a 16-year-old boy, died during running battles with the police in Taung on Monday.

READ: Teen killed in North West protests

The protests, which started in Mahikeng last week Wednesday just a day after a motion of no confidence in Mahumapelo was postponed indefinitely, were spreading like wildfire to other areas of the province and communities have been calling for the North West Premier's removal from office.

Regional leaders said all these protests were brewed from "operation centres" with two based in Mahikeng and another in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda region.

They told journalists that the plan was divided into phases, which included rendering the province ungovernable and removing identified people from government.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda's acting regional chairperson Zanele Mphafudi said removing Mahumapelo from his position would have far-reaching implications.

"Once Supra is gone, people must be removed; mayors must go, MMCs must go, ANC branches and provincial leadership must be disbanded... that cannot be allowed to happen."

'Performed exceptionally well'

The regions expressed their opposition to calls for Mahumapelo to be removed, saying they "believe that the premier has performed exceptionally well".

The representatives were from the Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati regions. The regions are also known as Modiri Molema regions. Although Bojanala region was listed, no one showed up.

Scenes of looting and barricaded roads peppered with burning tyres were reported overnight in Vryburg and Taung. A municipal office was torched in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Stella, a small town outside Vryburg.

As the day went by, areas within Tswaing municipality including Atamelang were plunged into chaotic and violent protests as well. 

The Revolutionary Council - which is known to be made up of politicians and businessmen with the aim of "saving the North West" - came under fire from the regional leaders who accused them of being behind the unrest.

The council launched a public campaign to remove Mahumapelo in January, accusing him of corruption, the collapse of governance in the province and a break-down of ANC structures.

The regional leaders described the council as being a lobby group made up of pro-Cyril Ramaphosa supporters who supported his presidential campaign.

"It is our view, therefore, that they still exist post-Nasrec (the party's national elective conference) and refuse to let go of any lobbying or conference-related difference of opinion.

"Their composition largely explains their reason for existence... its membership is mainly composed of former and current MECs, MPs, MPLs, some ANC PEC members [and] members of the former provincial task teams that led our province between 2009 and early 2011...

"It is basically a coalition of the wounded, who get angry and are prepared to fight if things don't go their way."

 'A coalition of the wounded'

The ANC's own alliance partners, Sanco, the SACP and Cosatu have also reiterated calls for Mahumapelo's removal and the regions expressed unhappiness about this as well. They also urged party leaders to act against ANC members found to be taking part in these calls.

"It is our view that the call by the Revolutionary Council, Cosatu, SACP and opposition parties is malicious and misinformed.

"We are arguing therefore that the narrative for recalling the premier must be performance-based and supported by factual evidence that indeed he is corrupt," the regional leaders said in their statement."

READ: Ramaphosa given 24 hours to fire Supra Mahumapelo by Revolutionary Council

As things stood, no one had backed their allegations with concrete evidence, the leaders said.

"It is our considered view that this call - amongst other things - is triggered by the posture taken by the premier on corruption and his pronouncements made during his State of the Province Address when he requested that all previous and current premiers, MECs, HODs and municipal managers must avail themselves when so requested by law enforcement agencies and forensic investigators on all corruption cases dating from 1994 as a commitment and support for the fifth administration's endeavours to fight greed, crime and corruption."

The regional leaders said they were not defending Mahumapelo, adding that he should face the might of the law if he was found wanting through any investigations.

But until then, he "remains innocent until found guilty by a court of law".

Read more on:    supra mahumapelo  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  mahikeng

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