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Premier feels heat as Hawks raid

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo is the latest member of the so-called premier league to find himself under scrutiny from the Hawks.

The premier's office was yesterday raided by the elite police investigations unit as it searched for documents relating to a corruption case that could implicate him and his office.

Since the beginning of the year, the Hawks have been cracking down on corruption within the state - taking on high-profile cases that involve senior ANC leaders.

Last month, they raided the offices of Free State premier, and now ANC secretary-general, Ace Magashule, looking for information relating to the controversial Estina dairy farm project which ended up benefiting former president Jacob Zuma's friends, the Guptas.

Both Mahumapelo and Magashule were close to the Guptas and used to be part of the "premier league" - a grouping of provincial premiers who were aligned to Zuma ahead of the ANC's elective conference in December.

Members of the Hawks leaving with documents seized during the raid of the office of North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.
Members of the Hawks leaving with documents seized during the raid of the office of North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.

The raid on Mahumapelo's offices came as pressure was mounting on another of Zuma's erstwhile backers, former water affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane, with parliament's public accounts committee summoning her to appear before it.

Mokonyane, who was recently moved by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the communications portfolio, is accused of having "collapsed" the water affairs ministry during her tenure.

Themba Godi, who heads the parliamentary committee, has publicly said he did not understand why Ramaphosa kept Mokonyane in cabinet when there were allegations of maladministration and corruption levelled against her.

During yesterday's raid, the Hawks were seen leaving Mahumapelo's office and finance department with boxes of documents.

Hawks spokeswoman Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said several documents which would assist in the ongoing probe were seized from different offices.

She said the corruption allegations related to a contract given to an IT company Nepo Data Dynamics which was appointed by the office of the premier to procure services on behalf of government.

Yesterday Sowetan reported that eight employees at the finance department were subjected to a lie detector test on Monday for making public information on payments made to the IT company.

The company received over R200-million from government over a period of two months last year and operates from Mahumapelo's office.

This happens as the EFF has written to the speaker of the provincial legislature requesting that the house debate a motion of no confidence against Mahumapelo.

The EFF sent the letter to speaker Susan Dantjie yesterday and has requested that the motion be voted through a secret ballot if it happens.

EFF leader in the province Betty Diale accused Mahumapelo of allowing theft at several departments, especially those under administration such as public works and health.

The departments under administration are managed from the premier's office.

Diale said Mahumapelo told the legislature last year that he was going to invite the Gupta family to do business with his government and indeed he achieved that.

"Our debate will focus on all the theft and corrupt activities that happened under his watch."

DA leader in that province Joe McGluwa said Mahumapelo now needed to face all the allegations against him and also account for his relationship with the Gupta family and involvement in state capture.

McGluwa said his party would support the EFF motion against Mahumapelo because the province under his leadership had become bankrupt financially, as well as politically.

He called for all the internal investigations of corruption that were done by the director-general in the office of Mahumapelo to stop and allow an external body like Hawks to take over.

"They cannot investigate themselves."

Diale and McGluwa both believe that some ANC members of the legislature would support the removal of Mahumapelo.

"Some have asked uncomfortable questions involving the premier and his cronies," McGluwa said.

"We call on these members who are unhappy with him to put their money where their mouth is," he said.

Last year there were several marches by a group under the banner Business Forum fighting Mahumapelo for alleged corruption and not awarding tenders to those who disagreed with him.

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