‘We understand your anger’ ANC’s Bapela tells Mahikeng

Residents of Mafikeng and the sounding areas took it to the streets protesting to oust the North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.
Residents of Mafikeng and the sounding areas took it to the streets protesting to oust the North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.
Image: Tiro Ramatlhatse

The ANC has said it understands the anger of North West residents who took to Mahikeng’s streets this week in protest against corruption and demanding Premier Supra Mahumapelo be sacked.

Addressing the media before a meeting of the ANC top brass‚ including President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ as well as Mahumapelo and his counterparts in the province‚ ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Obed Bapela expressed sympathy with the residents’ cries.

He said the ANC understood people’s anger when they see millions of rands going to companies yet services lagged behind.

“I think people are quite right to say‚ ‘we see millions of rands going to this company‚ that company or another company. There has been a number of advanced payments even before the companies could do anything’. Rightfully so‚ this is your money‚” said Bapela.

Ramaphosa cut short his visit to the United Kingdom‚ where he was to have participated in a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government‚ to attend to the violent protests in Mahikeng.

Former leaders in the province‚ including China Dodovu and ANC Youth League president Collen Maine‚ have been invited to the meeting.

Bapela was sent to the province to deal with the situation there‚ and has been at the forefront putting out fires‚ because some ANC members in the provincial legislature have been calling for Mahumapelo’s sacking.

The impasse attracted the attention of the national ANC leadership when 11 caucus members‚ reportedly including some members of Mahumapelo’s executive‚ said they would vote with the opposition in a motion of no confidence that had been set for Tuesday this week.

Bapela said he hoped that North West workers belonging to the National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) would suspend their protest action now that Mahumapelo has suspended Thabo Lekalakala‚ the health department head‚ for his alleged involvement in a corrupt tender deal with a Gupta-linked company.

Bapela said the go-slow and strike had negatively affected health services in the province.

Protesters blockaded streets with rocks and burning tyres. But a number of shops were looted and several cars were set alight. Bapela condemned the violence and called for calm.

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