'Packing my bags and going home from tomorrow,' says Supra Mahumapelo

2018-05-08 19:40
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo

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North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has given his strongest indication yet that he will step down on Wednesday.

This, after widespread violent protests occurred in the province in which residents called for him to step down as premier and as ANC chairperson in the province.

News24 asked Mahumapelo on Tuesday evening if reports that he would be stepping down on Wednesday were true. He responded: "Packing my bags and going home from tomorrow."

In an interview with the SABC, Mahumapelo told the public broadcaster that "by tomorrow (Wednesday) midday, Supra Obakeng Mahumapelo will be the former premier of the North West".

ANC members in the North West are already celebrating, expecting the imminent departure.

Mahumapelo has called a press briefing for Wednesday in the capital Mahikeng, amid claims that he has given an instruction that his office be cleared. 

"I will be explaining beyond resignation what is going to happen going forward," he told the public broadcaster.

"What is left is to follow the administrative process which [is] prescribed in the constitution."

News24 spoke to several party members in the province, who said they expected him to announce his departure, claiming he has instructed his officials to start clearing his office.

Mahumapelo further fuelled speculation that he had given in to pressure from within the ANC and his province when he told the speaker of the North West legislature, Susan Dantjie, that he would give her a letter on Friday.

"The time for healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us," said Mahumapelo, quoting the late president Nelson Mandela.

He delivered what has been widely seen as his final budget in the legislature on Tuesday.

Read more: Mahumapelo to submit letter to speaker of legislature 

His detractors have called for his entire provincial executive committee to also be disbanded.

Pressure mounted on Mahumapelo to vacate his office after President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed an inter-ministerial task team to investigate the unfolding crisis. He has already placed the health department under national administration.  

Ramaphosa was expected to receive a report from the inter-ministerial team, led by minister in the Presidency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, this week.  

Several of his detractors said they believed this was finally the end, insisting that Mahumapelo gave his personnel a Thursday deadline to complete the clearing of his office.

"Today is a very, very good day! The end is finally here," said an ANC member, who was once a close associate of Mahumapelo.

He insisted that the premier wanted to stick around long enough to pass budget.

"During the day, I met one of his staff [members]. They are leaving… so afraid," another source in the province told News24.

Another ANC member said Mahumapelo holding on until the ANC's national executive committee discussed his fate would do him more harm.

"If you take matter to NEC and it removes you, you might have to face DC (disciplinary) processes for defying officials," said the party insider.

President Ramaphosa met with Mahumapelo last week, after the majority of national working committee members said he must step down. 

"He was left in a corner. It's over," added the party member.

However, Mahumapelo was expected to hold on to his elected position as chairperson of the party in the province.

"He will probably stay as chair, but we will insist that the entire provincial executive committee be disbanded. We cannot have him lead the ANC to elections," the ANC member, who has campaigned for Mahumapelo to go, said.

A member of an opposition party in the legislature also said he heard from Mahumapelo's personnel that he will be stepping down before Thursday.

"He is going," said some ANC members as they circulated messages that Mahumapelo had asked for his office to be cleared.

However, officials in Mahumapelo's office denied the claims that he had given instruction that his office be cleared.

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