Writing on the wall for North West premier Supra Mahumapelo

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo
North West premier Supra Mahumapelo

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo is on his way out due to his track record of poor governance, not just allegations of corruption and maladministration.

It is now a matter of when, not if, despite the factional politics of the ANC muddying the waters of the premier's removal.

Flailing electoral fortunes, protests and one department placed under the control of national government - undoubtedly with many more departments, including the provincial treasury to potentially follow - mean the writing is on the wall for Mahumapelo and his executive.

There cannot be another solution to the impasse, given two critical factors: the ANC's electoral performance and Mahumapelo's governance track record, outlined in auditor-general reports.

The opposition EFF snatched a ward from the ANC in a by-election last week. The ANC had won the ward in 2016 with 51% of the vote. In Wednesday's by-election, the EFF won the ward with 48% of the vote.

Last week, the cabinet took a decision on ironing out governance issues in the province. It announced on Thursday it was invoking section 100 (1)(b) of the constitution to tackle the challenges in the health sector.

A delegation of ministers is set to descend on the province in the coming weeks to evaluate other departments.

It is understood that once this happens, it is likely many more of the province's 13 departments could be placed under administration.

In the 2016/2017 provincial audit outcomes, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu's report indicated that state spending without ensuring value for money was of "particular concern" in the province.

"Most auditees [91%] still had findings on compliance with legislation, specifically in the areas of irregular expenditure and non-adherence to procurement and contract management prescripts, which also resulted in an increase in the irregular expenditure incurred from R3-billion in 2015/2016 to R3.6-billion in 2016/2017," the report said.

In addition, the report said while Mahumapelo's office should set an example for good governance and accountability, it appeared not to do so.

"The slow response by management to address root causes and the lack of consequence management for continued transgressions and poor performance should have been the priority of the provincial executive leadership, as highlighted in the previous year's auditor-general report.

"Contrary to this and irrespective of the continued reinforcement of our messages, the overall audit outcomes of North West regressed over the past four years with only 32% of the auditees obtaining accountability, consequence management and action by the provincial executive leadership in addressing root causes, are the cornerstones to improving audit outcomes."

The ANC leadership meeting this week will have to decide whether to convene a special national executive committee meeting or wait for an ordinary meeting of the NEC at the end of next month to announce its next steps.

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