South Africa Government Takes Control of North West Province

By Michael Cohen

  Photographer: Mujahid Safodien/AFP via Getty Images

Photographer: Mujahid Safodien/AFP via Getty Images

South Africa’s government seized control of North West province, which has been wracked by a series of violent protests, as a way to force Premier Supra Mahumapelo from his post.

Mahumapelo, 49, had opposed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to lead the ruling African National Congress. Ramaphosa won by a narrow margin at a conference in December. Displacing the provincial administration may help the new leader strengthen his control over the party.

Unhappiness with Mahumapelo’s leadership has been mounting over his handling of a graft scandal and the sidelining of his ANC rivals in North West. Ramaphosa, 65, wrote to the National Council of Provinces on Friday, notifying it of the cabinet’s decision to place the region under national control because it could no longer fulfill its statutory obligations, Parliament said in an emailed statement on Sunday.

Speculation that Mahumapelo was on the verge of resigning has intensified in recent weeks after several senior ANC leaders said they were discussing whether to remove him from office. He went on temporary leave on May 9 after backtracking on a statement that he would resign. He remains chairman of the ANC in the province.

South Africa’s special police unit known as the Hawks said it raided Mahumapelo’s offices last month in connection with alleged mismanagement, fraud and corruption amounting to about 160 million rand ($13 million).

Mahumapelo was a close ally of Jacob Zuma, 76, who Ramaphosa replaced as the nation’s president in February two months after winning control of the party.


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