More North West powers taken away from Supra

2018-05-13 05:52
Supra Mahumapelo. PHOTO: Felix Dlangamandla

Supra Mahumapelo. PHOTO: Felix Dlangamandla

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More departments in the North West are expected to be placed under administration by the national government as the interministerial task team led by Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma returns to the embattled province to give feedback on its findings.

Highly placed insiders in the provincial government and ANC told City Press that plans were under way to increase the number of ministers participating in the task team, which has been seen as an indication that national government was likely to take more powers away from the province.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa placed both the provincial health department and treasury under administration in a bid to stabilise service delivery in the province after social unrest erupted in the capital, Mahikeng, and other parts of the province.

Anxiety gripped members of the provincial executive following the task team’s report back to Cabinet on Wednesday. On Monday the team wrapped up its work in the province, listening to local stakeholders – taxi owners, businesspeople, community leaders and disgruntled ANC members – who made serious allegations of maladministration against Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s government.

The report by the team of ministers was expected to boost widespread calls for the removal of the embattled Mahumapelo.

A senior ANC member in the province said the report would “only run short of saying let [Mahumapelo] go because it was not those ministers’ mandate. It will, however, reveal a spate of problems in governance and expose the rot under Mahumapelo’s watch.”

“There was evidence presented to the ministers and the most critical part of the evidence was payment reports showing how some companies were paid millions, where value for money cannot be proved. The report will prove that we lack clean governance and leadership.”

Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said all she knew was that the committee would be back in the province sometime this coming week and she had no knowledge of any discussion to extend the team.

Education

The provincial education department, which has been under administration by the provincial government since 2014, has been mentioned as one of the likely candidates for placing under national administration.

City Press heard that Education Minister Angie Motshekga was expected to be one of the new members of the task team.

A senior ANC leader in Luthuli House told City Press that, at the time Mahumapelo placed the education department under administration, the province had been ranked number two in the country. It has since dropped to number four.

Those close to the North West education and sports development MEC, Sello Lehari, said the department would “welcome further administration because it was neglected soon after it was placed under the watch of the provincial government in 2014”.

Health crisis

Mahumapelo said that “a national ANC leader” interfered in 2014 when he wanted to fire Health MEC Magome Masike.

“I won’t say who, but it is a national leader,” he said.

“When the premier wanted to take out that MEC a long time ago, I was told I cannot do it. So what do we do? I saw the problem a long time ago.”

He said that the central government was correct to place the department under administration, “but why did they not allow the premier to remove that MEC then, so that we can correct the problem”?

He said that Masike was failing to hold the management of his department accountable.

“I went to the provincial hospital [Bophelong, in Mahikeng] and I found linen from the ground up to the roof. It had been lying there for eight months and the MEC had not visited that area in the hospital.”

A former close ally of Mahumapelo mentioned Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi as the person who stopped Mahumapelo.

Those sympathetic to Masike said that under the province’s administration he did not even have powers to fill vacant posts. City Press saw a copy of the letter dated December 9 2016, in which the finance department stated that it would not support the filling of 1 275 posts because of “the fiscal position in the department of health”.

Subsequently, said an insider, the responsibility to fill vacant posts was outsourced to a private company, whose name is known to City Press.

The source said that prior to Mahumapelo’s administration the department was doing relatively well, with a history of three consecutive unqualified audit opinions and “competed only with the Western Cape as the best in the country”.

“It is wrong on the part of the premier to suggest that it is the MEC who is failing when the HOD [head of department, Dr Thabo Lekalakala] was fraudulently appointed by the premier and reported directly to the premier – disregarding the MEC and his authority.”

A letter dated July 31 2014 shows that Mahumapelo preferred finance MEC Wendy Nelson to chair the panel interviewing the HOD instead of Masike. Those close to the process said Motsoaledi had warned Mahumapelo against appointing Lekalakala.

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