May 23, 2018: Supra Mahumapelo takes ‘early retirement’

Embattled North West premier Supra Mahumapelo is taking “early retirement” and has asked the ANC to look into allegations of corruption in the province.

Mahumapelo made the announcement saying: “As I embark on early retirement from the position of premier in the province, I hope that we will intensify the fight against greed crime and corruption,” during a media briefing on Wednesday at Luthuli House.

Following Mahumapelo’s announcement, secretary-general Ace Magashule took to the podium and clarified that Mahumapelo was indeed resigning. Magashule said: “Let me just put it in simple terms, no parables. Comrade Supra is today resigning as the premier of North West and I think in that process, he is assisting the ANC to deal with all challenges which we are supposed to deal with so that he doesn’t become an obstacle to solving whatever problems.

“We are very happy and we support his move as the ANC. It has been a very difficult time and period but the fact that he has offered, voluntarily so, to come here and say to the ANC that I am prepared to resign is a great thing to do as a leader.”

The announcement followed a meeting between the governing party’s officials and the province’s leadership on Monday.

Mahumapelo who is seen as a Zuma loyalist had said that he was planning to “pack his bags” several weeks ago and leave office, but stayed following the provincial executive committee’s decision that he should withdraw his resignation. Mahumapelo was then placed on leave indefinitely pending an investigation into corruption in the North West and the province’s finance MEC, Wendy Nelson, was appointed as acting premier.

Mahumapelo has been accused of corruption and failing to run the provincial government properly, with the health department being the most adversely affected.

Last month, in the wake of continued protests by the National Health and Allied Workers Union, which led to the closure of hospitals and clinics in the province, the cabinet placed the North West health department under the administration of the national government. The entire province was put under national administration last Wednesday. (Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg; SADOCC)