Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo‘s political future will be decided at this weekend‘s ANC national executive committee meeting, where his detractors are planning to push hard to oust him as chair of the province.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Mahumapelo told journalists during a press briefing at Luthuli House that he was resigning as premier of the troubled province, calling it an “early retirement”.
His bowing out was seen as a desperate move to save face ahead of the NEC meeting this weekend, which wants to decide on his fate.
Some NEC members have told News24 that Mahumapelo‘s provincial executive committee should be disbanded if the ANC has any chance of winning the 2019 elections.
Mahumapelo has also been accused of sidelining party members in the province who opposed him.
“We previously [said] he will resign as premier, but he put up a fight. But at the end he is gone. I am telling you the North West PEC is finished, just wait and see,” an NEC member who did not want to be named said.
The ANC officials met with the provincial leaders on Monday and it is understood they were chastised for calling for Mahumapelo to stay in office when he was expected to resign.
The option for Mahumapelo to go on special leave is said to have been set aside by the officials.
The NEC, which is the ruling party‘s highest decision making body, is also expected to decide who should replace him.
However Mahumapelo‘s supporters are expected to argue that the NEC should not tamper with an elected structure of the party as it would be seen as a purge of those who did not support Cyril Ramaphosa‘s presidential bid.
Mahumapelo was part of the so called “Premier League” that defended former president Jacob Zuma and campaigned for Ramaphosa‘s rival, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in the December presidential race.
A provincial leader said they planned on pointing out the inconsistencies in NEC‘s decisions after it had set aside the Sbu Ndebele report on the Eastern Cape‘s festival of chairs conference.
Ndebele in his report nullified the 2017 provincial elective conference however his report was rejected.
The Eastern Cape conference descended into chaos as delegates threw chairs at each other with several people being admitted to hospital. The conference elected Oscar Mabuyane as chairperson of the party, replacing Premier Phumulo Masualle.
“That conference where hundreds of people walked out and were not there for voting, the NEC recommended a political solution. They rejected a report that was commissioned by the ANC itself because they did not allow the outcome,” the NEC member said.
Another NEC member said the North West was due to go to conference in February next year, and wondered what the hurry was.
A report by the Veterans League submitted before the violent protests calling for Mahumapelo to go, however, painted a grim picture of some of the province‘s regional structures who are due to attend that conference.
The ANC Youth League‘s secretary general Njabulo Nzuza warned that the decisions or actions taken by the ruling party should not make it look vindictive.
“There has been stability in the North West, now suddenly things are popping up and there are disruptions, those are signs of purging,” he said.
He argued that all provinces must be treated the same.
“The December elective conference is over, people must move on. Some of us are being crucified for not supporting the current president‘s bid for presidency. We are being made to feel uncomfortable in our organisation,” Nzuza said.
Another province that is due to come under scrutiny is the Free State. Disgruntled members are threatening to go to court to nullify last week‘s elective conference.
The members have consulted a legal firm that has written to the ANC‘s national leadership demanding a list of the delegates that attended the conference.
The members claim that fraudulent delegates with no mandate from branches in good standing attended the conference.
However the ANC has taken a hard line, demanding proof of powers of attorney and that they are bona fide members.
NEC member Nomvula Mokonyane was deployed to the conference and is expected to deliver her report on it soon.
The ANC NEC is also expected to endorse the ANC land summit recommendation that the Constitution does not need to be changed to allow for expropriation without compensation.
The party is due to make submissions to Parliament‘s review committee reviewing the current section 25 of the Constitution, which deals with property rights.