North West premier Supra Mahumapelo goes on 'early retirement'
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo announced on Wednesday that he is taking “early retirement” from his post.
This comes in the wake of his meeting with African National Congress (ANC) leaders earlier this week.
His “retirement” comes after a protracted political battle with his detractors in the province who had been calling for his sacking for over three months.
Addressing a media conference at the ANC headquarters‚ Luthuli House‚ in Johannesburg‚ Mahumapelo said he was resigning to allow investigations currently under way in the province to continue.
Among the reasons why his detractors wanted him out are allegations of corruption in his administration involving the Guptas and claims that he gave former president Jacob Zuma cattle worth R1.5-million meant for farmers in North West.
“There are two reasons that I am going on early retirement. The first reason is to say all these investigations that are taking place in the province ...if they are taking place in my presence‚ there would be an accusation that I am using the office also to protect myself‚” said Mahumapelo.
He said since he was also an accused in the cases that were currently being investigated in the province‚ it would be difficult to avoid allegations that he was abusing his office to defend himself or get rid of his opponents.
“If I continue to stay as a premier …I would also be accused of using my position in government to defend myself‚” he said.
In his address‚ Mahumapelo fashioned himself as a corruption buster calling for 35 cases of corruption‚ unfinished construction projects and undue benefits by current and former officials to be investigated despite his departure from office.
“Investigate this phenomenon which resulted in the looting and torching of houses‚ destruction of property [during the protests] ... we will at the right time indicate to the leadership our information with regard to the people who were behind what is called the ‘ people’s demand’‚” Mahumapelo said.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the party was happy about Mahumapelo’s resignation.
Mahumapelo still remains as the chair of the ANC in the province but it is not yet clear who will take over as the new premier.
Magashule said Mahumapelo’s departure was not a purge of the people who had not supported President Cyril Ramaphosa at the party’s conference in December last year.