The ANC in North West on Tuesday night confirmed that it had accepted the decision by provincial chairperson Supra Mahumapelo to resign as premier.
North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo first gave an indication in his budget vote speech early on Tuesday that he had acceded to a demand by the ANC’s Top Six for him to resign from office. But it was as cryptic as it was confusing. Addressing the legislature, Mahumapelo said:
“In some critical instances of our life, we are called upon as part of humanity to create the essence of the absence of presence. In full compliance with Constitution of the Republic, the speaker will receive a commitment in writing before Friday this week.”
No one fully understood what Mahumapelo meant until he did a telephonic interview with the SABC on Tuesday evening where he confirmed that he was “beyond the issue of resignation”.
“In the morning, 8 o’clock, I will be meeting with the executive of the province. As soon as I am done with the executive of the province, I will be addressing the top management of the government in the premier’s office after which I will be in a press conference to indicate the way forward,” Mahumapelo told SABC news anchor Aldrin Sampear.
Despite this comment, there was still confusion. Has the premier resigned or not?
He again repeated that he was “beyond that”.
It only became real when Mahumapelo told Sampear:
“By midday tomorrow Supra Obakeng Ramoeletsi Mahumapelo will be the former premier of the North West.”
He would follow the law, he said, and first meet with his executive to inform them formally, then write a letter to the speaker of the provincial legislature and then meet with officials in his office to wrap things up in government.
Then, Mahumapelo said, he will use the press conference scheduled for 10:00 to explain “the political circumstances” that led to his resignation.
“Remember, in politics we operate within the parameters of particular political circumstances. It is not about you being happy or unhappy… The political circumstances create particular environments,” he said.
Mahumapelo previously said that he was targeted as part of a purge of leaders who supported Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as premier. However, the party officials relied on a litany of corruption accusations made against him to support their call for him to step down.
The decision that the ANC officials ask him to step down was taken at a meeting of the National Working Committee last week where it was argued that the corruption allegations against the premier were too grave to ignore.
When the officials first met Mahumapelo last Thursday, he refused.
But, it seems, after the officials met on Monday to discuss the matter, Mahumapelo was left with no choice. Still, while he steps down as premier, he remains in an influential position as the ANC’s provincial chairperson.
Reacting to Mahumapelo’s agreeing to step down, the ANC in the province said they remain proud of their leader.
“As the ANC in Bokone Bophirima, we still believe in Code Supra’s innocence until he’s proven otherwise and we commend him for putting the interest of the province and its people before his own,” acting provincial secretary Susan Dantjie said in a statement.
She said the party will be looking for a new role to deploy Mahumapelo in and described his resignation as a “voluntary exit from his deployment as premier”.
Obviously, Mahumapelo’s resignation is by no means voluntary. The ANC’s Top Six had to place a political gun at his forehead to force him to step down.
Meanwhile, the news of Mahumapelo’s imminent resignation was celebrated by the opposition in the province.
The EFF’s Betty Diale says his resignation would be a vindication for the party which has long called for Mahumapelo’s resignation.
The DA’s Joe McGluwa told EWN that Mahumapelo was left with no choice but to resign.
“There was no other way for him. He has to go,” he said. DM
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