'ANC cowards' are hiding behind the EFF - Mahumapelo says as MPLs plan to recall him
18 April 2018
A delegation from ANC headquarters Luthuli House is expected to meet the party's caucus in the North West on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve tension between some provincial leaders, and chairperson Supra Mahumapelo.
Several members of the legislature have been calling for national leaders to intervene in what they now describe as a "totally dysfunctional" province.
Some want the party to remove Mahumapelo as the premier of the platinum-rich province and to disband his provincial executive committee (PEC).
The ANC, including national executive committee (NEC) deployee Obed Bapela, will meet with the caucus, following a decision taken by its national working committee (NWC).
One NWC member said it was an attempt to assess what was really happening in the province.
A report will be delivered to the party's top six officials next week, ahead of an NWC visit to the province.
Bapela previously held several meetings with defiant MPLs in an effort to try and dissuade them from voting for Mahumapelo to go.
However, some have repeatedly told him that he must choose between the ANC and corruption.
Speaker of the North West legislature, Susan Dantjie, notified MPLs that a motion of no confidence in Mahumapelo had been postponed during the early hours of Tuesday. She said this was to allow the EFF, who sponsored the motion, to resolve its court bid for the vote to take place under secret ballot.
While MPLs prepare to place the option of recalling Mahumapelo on the agenda when they meet national leaders, the premier has been mobilising support in the province and claimed some had been hiding behind the EFF and were behind many attempts to remove him from his leadership role.
"Le a mo itse moloi (You know witches) who fly at night… there are leaders and other people who worked with the witch of the night. [They were] told to kill Mahumapelo and they couldn't do it. That’s why I am still alive," the North West premier said in a leaked video clip.
Mahumapelo's comments were made in relation to an assassination plot against him, which led to the sentencing of former Mahikeng councillor Eunice Legalatladi to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.
"I was addressing thousands at Nasrec. I knew you can't be given the responsibility to address delegates nationally at a national conference and people will not develop hatred towards you, [or] people will not develop jealousy towards you or a programme to bring you down. I know there are people planning... [against] me day and night," said Mahumapelo.
He added that the ANC had to defeat the motion against him whenever it found its way back on the agenda in the legislature.
"We must defeat this motion wa makgatlapa a ANC (of ANC cowards) hiding behind the EFF, whether it is tomorrow or next week, secret ballot or not."
His name has been placed at the centre of numerous corruption scandals in his province. The Hawks have raided his office as part of an investigation into corruption.
The specialised policing unit also raided the North West director general's office in March, looking for documents related to a multimillion-rand IT contract with Nepo Data Dynamics, which was tasked with aligning all government IT systems in the province.
The legislature has also laid a number of complaints with the Hawks. This includes complaints over a multimillion-rand Mediosa contract. This involves a Gupta-linked company that was said to have received a R30m advance from the North West health department a day before it began operating its mobile clinic in the province.
Last week, ANC Youth League president Collen Maine accused Mahumapelo of introducing him to the controversial Gupta family – who are accused of using their relationship with former president Jacob Zuma to loot from some of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises.
Mahumapelo claimed those who sought to have the ANC's NEC remove him, knew that they couldn't rise up through the branch system in the party.
"Don't be misled by people writing things that are not true on social media, newspapers and radio. When [you are] not sure, call Mahumapelo, and I will come to your branches.
"I am not afraid of anyone. Sometimes when you are quiet, people think o lekgatlapa (You are a coward)," said the North West premier.
The SACP's secretary in the province, Madoda Sambatha, who was fired as an MEC by Mahumapelo last year, told News24 that he was not too worried about the motion of no confidence being postponed, but wanted the ANC to take a decision to recall the premier for the sake of the party and the province.
"Our view is that we don't need a motion of no confidence to remove an ANC deployee," said Sambatha.
He said there were enough reasons that called for the removal of a premier.
The SACP chair and MPL mentioned high levels of corruption, the Gupta state capture allegations, municipalities channelling funds intended for water to VBS bank, and a protracted go-slow at health facilities as some of the problems which have resulted in the North West being a "non-functioning province".
"He praised them (the Guptas) at his State of the Province [Address] and said we must make videos of their [Sun City] wedding and use it to market the province as a destination for billionaire weddings," Sambatha complained.
On Monday, the ANC’s deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said it would never be ideal for ANC members to vote against one of their leaders based on the wishes of the opposition.
She said the reason for visiting the province on Wednesday was to hear the grievances of the caucus and seek solutions.
"[Then the ANC] will move forward with them to find solutions to the problems [they] are raising," said Duarte.