With less than 48 hours before Luthuli House announces Supra Mahumapelo’s fate as North West premier and head of the ANC in the province, he is said to have been “dismissive” during the tense meeting with the inter-ministerial committee on Friday.
Mahumapelo’s defiant attitude irritated the likes of Police Minister Bheki Cele, according to those who attended the high-profile meeting at the Hotel School in Mahikeng. It was led by Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
During the three-hour gathering, governance and alleged tender corruption in North West and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to place the provincial health department under administration were discussed.
The committee asked Mahumapelo to present them with a full governance report by Monday, which they would take to Cabinet. “We don’t know what is the source of his bravado,” a meeting attendant said of the premier.
Luthuli House intended to communicate “a final decision” on Mahumapelo’s future on Tuesday. North West SA Communist Party chairperson Madoda Sambatha said a request from the office of ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte was that “we should give them a chance” as there had been “slight delays”, he said.
However, the SA National Civic Organisation’s Paul Sebego said they only heard about the Tuesday deadline on social media and had received no formal communication from Luthuli House.
An urgent special ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting could be on the cards, as early indications are that Mahumapelo is willing to fight for his survival until the last minute.
City Press understands that Mahumapelo’s backers – dominated by a group that supported Dlamini-Zuma against Ramaphosa at the ANC’s national elective conference in December – are consolidating the branches that nominated her. This is because they feel threatened by the Ramaphosa administration.
“The feeling is that Ramaphosa is dealing with them one by one, so they need to be organised and fight back,” said an ANC insider, adding that the former mineral resources minister has been tasked with crisscrossing the country to resuscitate #NDZ lobbyists.
Frantic lobbying is underway to ensure Mahumapelo is defended in the event of a special NEC meeting.
A local ANC leader in the province said Mahumapelo will not go down without a fight. He is “desperate to make sure that whoever comes in next will not expose his shenanigans”.
“He has cleaned out the state coffers, so for him this is more than a fight for political survival,” said the source.
The ANC national working committee met in Cape Town on Wednesday to discuss Mahumapelo’s options. It was decided that he should resign – although the ANC tried to keep the discussions under wraps.
Among those mentioned to have spoken out against Mahumapelo is his former ally Dakota Legoete. He apparently told the meeting that “24 hours with Mahumapelo in office was too much”. However, Legoete said discussions from the working committee are being distorted.
“There was no decision to fire (Mahumapelo), but the matter was delegated to officials to engage with him and look at the possible options which will resolve the impasse, in the interests of the province, country and the broader movement.”
Insiders said the options the working committee discussed included placing the entire North West provincial government under administration and dissolving the provincial ANC executive. The special NEC meeting will be a last resort, during which the ANC’s provincial legislature members will be told to vote with the opposition in favour of Mahumapelo’s exit.
Mahumapelo is expected to demand an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him.
The ANC adopted similar tactics when it ousted former President Jacob Zuma, also a Mahumapelo ally, in February.
A former associate of Mahumapelo said that in the event that he resigns, one of his current MECs will be appointed acting premier until Luthuli House makes a formal appointment. The source said Mahumapelo and North West legislature speaker Susan Dantjie had, by Wednesday, been summoned to Luthuli House to receive the working committee’s decision.
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