Why Supra Mahumapelo mantashed

North West premier and ANC chairman Supra Mahumapelo addressing the media and his supporters after he changed his mind about resigning.
North West premier and ANC chairman Supra Mahumapelo addressing the media and his supporters after he changed his mind about resigning.
Image: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Embattled North West premier Supra Mahumapelo decided to withdraw his resignation after he realised that his chosen successor would not succeed him.

Senior ANC sources told Sowetan that Mahumapelo met with President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier in the week, and agreed to resign.

They settled on former education MEC Johannes Tselapedi as Mahumapelo's successor.

But late on Tuesday night, Mahumapelo and his supporters realised there was a move from ANC national officials to have Zakes Tolo replace him.

"Zakes Tolo is a member of the ANC veterans in the province and is fighting Supra, that is why he changed his mind about resigning late at night," a source privy to the information said.

"In fact, he withdrew his resignation. You cannot have someone fighting Supra to take over."

Yesterday, the provincial executive committee (PEC) met in Mahikeng and took the decision to place Mahumapelo on leave of absence. He then appointed finance MEC Weny Nelson as acting premier.

ANC acting provincial secretary Suzan Dantjie, who is also speaker of the legislature, said Mahumapelo was not under duress when he resigned on Tuesday.

"He did that on his own will. The PEC forced the premier to say he can't decide to resign without us blessing that resignation. When we met as the PEC he said he was ready to resign as soon as the PEC is adjourned. The PEC told him that he did not deploy himself."

Another source said: "The ANC NEC [national executive committee] including the NWC [national working committee] never took a decision that he must step down, but NWC instructed officials to come up with a solution.

"He agreed to resign, but changed his decision because he cannot be replaced by someone who hates him."

ANC national spokesman Pule Mabe said he would not say the PEC was defying the ANC, but anything constructive in solving the North West problems would be welcomed.

"The leave of absence is sufficient to all because that will help to look into all the problems while he is not there."

The PEC is dominated by Mahumapelo's direct relatives and trusted loyalists.

SA Communist Party provincial secretary Madoda Sambatha said the PEC's intention was to shift the blame to the ANC national leadership.

"They want to project themselves as being victimised by the national leadership. They are voluntarily handing themselves to the ANC for dissolution. How on earth do you have a PEC that stops the premier's resignation?"

Sambatha said the PEC has no authority to reject the resignation of a premier.

National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union provincial deputy secretary Toffies Moemi said the PEC should be disbanded if it fails to endorse the decision of the ANC top brass.

"The only remedy would be for the ANC national leadership to stamp its authority. It will set a bad precedent if a higher structure is undermined by a lower structure."

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