Malema threatens legal action over Mahumapelo's leave of absence

EFF leader Julius Malema. (Netwerk24)
EFF leader Julius Malema. (Netwerk24)

EFF leader Julius Malema has hit out at North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo's decision to take a leave of absence, instead of resigning.

On Wednesday, Mahumapelo reneged on his initial decision to step down. Instead, the ANC in the province announced that one of his provincial executive committee (PEC) members, Wendy Nelson, would act in his place while he was on leave. 

The period of leave was said to be for the inter-ministerial committee, appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, an opportunity to complete its work in the province.

READ: North West PEC refused to let Mahumapelo resign

The committee is assessing the state of the North West after it was rocked by violent protests. Residents have been calling for an end to Mahumapelo's tenure. ANC members also demanded that he be stripped of his chairmanship of the party and that the PEC be dissolved.

The province has been embroiled in allegations of corruption and maladministration. Essential services have also been affected and the health department has been placed under administration.

"Something funny happened in the North West. The premier and the ANC say they have appointed an acting premier. That's unconstitutional," said Malema.

He was speaking at an EFF breakfast which was attended by political editors and journalists in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Threat of legal action

Malema said his party would write a letter questioning the decision and asking for it to be reversed. A failure to do so, would result in the EFF launching an urgent court application, he threatened.

"What is this unconstitutional thing that you allow the new dawn to do," the EFF's commander-in-chief asked.

He hit out at the media numerous times during the engagement, claiming that members of the media sought to portray Ramaphosa as an "angel" when he was part of the problem.

"Even under Zuma we never had an acting premier. Why would Ramaphosa become worse than Zuma? When Zuma was fed up with Cassel Mathale in Limpopo, he fired him. There was no acting [ position]," said Malema.

"Whether that was right or wrong is something else, but that was decisive coming from Jacob Zuma."

However, constitutional law expert Khomotso Moshikaro told News24 on Thursday that what Mahumapelo had done was in line with the Constitution.

"In terms of section 131 (1)(a) of the Constitution, if a Premier is absent or unable to fulfil his duties, he may appoint an MEC as an acting Premier. I believe that this was the case in this matter," Moshikaro said. 

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