'Black Jesus saw himself as a saint' - Dodovu says power corrupted Supra Mahumapelo

Supra Mahumapelo has taken 'early retirement'.
Supra Mahumapelo has taken 'early retirement'.
Image: Alaister Russell

At first he was seen as the "Messiah" who would deliver his people from slavery. But, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo later disappointed his people, who now call him "greedy and corrupt".

Known to his supporters as "Black Jesus", Mahumapelo cut his teeth in politics in 1989 when he joined the SA National Students Congress at the then Technikon Northern Transvaal (TNT), his friend-turned-foe China Dodovu said.

Though he was never in exile, he became well known when he was elected ANC North West secretary in 2005.

Dodovu, the ANC deputy chairman in the province, said Mahumapelo's ascension to power was as a result of destroying fellow politicians' careers and those of his opponents. "He only got arrested for three days while we were at school," Dodovu said.

Mahumapelo ascended his political position as provincial chair of the ANC and premier after National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise was redeployed.

Mahumapelo announced on Wednesday that he was taking an "early retirement" from his position as premier. This was after violent protests, with residents demanding that he step down. Dodovu said Mahumapelo always portrayed himself as "a saint".

The two met at TNT when Mahumapelo was studying towards his office administration diploma. They shared a room at the institution.

"At the time our girlfriends were friends, they are both our wives now. He was part of me [and] I was part of him in different ways, we really shared a lot," Dodovu said.

His tone changed when he spoke about how the man he mentored and helped join the ANC changed from being a good person to a greedy person.

In 1991, when Dodovu completed his studies, he left Mahumapelo at the technikon, but two years later he followed him to Klerksdorp where they continued to stay together.

Dodovu said they left for Mahikeng in 1994 where Mahumapelo was working as part of the ANC strategic management team.

"He then joined the ANC as head of political education until 2004 when he became the speaker of the legislature."

In 2005, Mahumapelo was elected provincial secretary and re-elected in 2008.

Dodovu said after Mahumapelo was elected premier, he penned a document titled Eradicating the Legacy of Pope Molefe. Molefe was the premier of NW from 1994 to 2004.

Dodovu said the document became the blueprint on how to destroy other leaders.

He said the first victim was rising star Elliott Mayisela, a former agriculture MEC who was tipped to become premier.

"He was unlawfully removed and later set up on frivolously, concocted charges of money laundering."

In 2009, the provincial executive committee (PEC) that Mahumapelo led instituted a commission of inquiry called the Mataka Commission, out of which a hit list of "the most problematic comrades" was compiled, Dodovu said.

In 2012, on the eve of the Mangaung national conference, another rising star in ANC politics and his nemesis, provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge, was suspended and thrown into the political dustbin.

The following year - now Mahumapelo's deputy and fierce rival - was arrested for allegedly killing Obuti Chika, secretary of the Dr Kenneth Kaunda region.

He was found not guilty and discharged. "From there we fought, I was contesting for his position, I fought until the PEC was dissolved in 2009."

He said Mahumapelo was down and out until February 2011 when he got elected as ANC provincial chairman. He was re-elected in 2014.

Another politician, Philly Mapulane, said many people thought that Mahumapelo was somebody who represented the young generation as he was fairly well educated.

Mapulane said after his fame, Mahumapelo started becoming manipulative. "He messed up and collapsed the government. He appointed weak people, he juniorised the government so that he can steal from it," he said.

Mapulane said when Mahumapelo came into the picture, he started purging people who did not agree with him.

"His personality began to emerge, that's when he started to call himself 'Jesus'.

He said he was called Jesus because he was victimised abut always forgave people who were doing bad things to him."

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