Supra Mahumapelo resigns as North West Premier

Supra Mahumapelo. Picture: Susan Cilliers
Supra Mahumapelo. Picture: Susan Cilliers

After weeks of speculation, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has handed in his resignation.

Little was known, however, on whether he will remain chairperson of the ANC in the province.

It is understood that during his interaction with ANC leaders who tried to persuade him to resign, he made it clear that he would not let go with both hands and wanted to remain at the helm of the ANC in the province.

“We know that (Mahumapelo) will continue to serve his movement the ANC in whatever new role we will decide for him,” the party’s provincial office said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

“We urge him to remain steadfast in what he believes are the necessary tasks of executing the revolution.”

The party also saluted him for his “selfless role in government”.

“Continue leading us on an exemplary role in society as you have done for so many years,” the party said.

Mahumapelo will no longer be Premier after he has officially announced his resignation on Wednesday.

City Press has reliably learnt that Mahumapelo gave the North West provincial legislature Speaker Susan Dantjie his resignation letter ahead of Wednesday’s media briefing.

The much anticipated exit was also confirmed by a statement released by Dantjie in her capacity as acting provincial secretary of the ANC in the province. The statement was released a few minutes before 8pm on Tuesday.

“The African National Congress (ANC) in Bokone Bophirima (North West) accepts with a sense apprehension – but great pride – the decision by our Provincial Chairperson, Cde Supra “SOR” Mahumapelo to voluntarily exit from his deployment as Premier,” the statement read.

There was no mention of him having handed in his resignation on the statement though but other sources close to the office of the Speaker confirmed it has happened.

There were talks earlier in the day that Mahumapelo had already ordered his support staff to pack up his office. He was supposed to address the media after delivering his office’s budget speech but it was cancelled at the eleventh hour with Mahumapelo seen leaving the legislature chambers with Director-General Lydia Sebego.

His resignation will end widespread speculation on him finally stepping down after maintaining a tight grip on power amid increasing pressure from ordinary citizens, opposition parties, the ANC as well as its alliance partners.

Sluice gates of speculation were flung open following Mahumapelo’s delivery of his office’s budget in the provincial legislature earlier on Tuesday.

There was little interest in the R775-million budget for the premier’s office, with the ears of those in the legislature only starting to prick up when he started talking beyond the figures and off script.

Under pressure

Dressed in a blue suit that earned him compliments from Democratic Alliance leader in the province Joe McGluwa, Mahumapelo tried hard to appear calm and unfazed.

This was a man who faced a motion of no confidence initiated by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

The motion was followed by widespread violent protests across the province as communities called for Mahumapelo’s removal.

The call also gained support from the ANC’s alliance partners – the SA National Civic Organisation, the SA Communist Party and Cosatu – as well as a huge faction within the governing party in the province.

It was all based on allegations of corruption, tender irregularities and “self-enrichment”.

Health services, particularly in Mahikeng, were brought to a halt and required intervention from the military, with soldiers from medical services taking over a local hospital.

In the backdrop there were scandals, including the R180-million dubiously awarded mobile clinic contract to Gupta-linked company, Mediosa.

The almost paralysed health department in the province was put under administration.

All this had left Mahumapelo in the spotlight although he had often denied being involved in supply chain matters and challenged those who make allegations to prove them.

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