By Wednesday evening Speaker of the North West legislature Susan Dantjie had not responded to queries over whether Supra Mahumapelo had submitted his resignation.
Mahumapelo announced his decision to “embark on an early retirement” during a media briefing at the African National Congress‘ Luthuli House headquarters earlier in the day.
His province had been embroiled in violent protests as residents and some members of his party called for him to step down.
There have been accusations of corruption and maladministration in the province. The North West health department had also collapsed, following a more than two-month long strike from members of the National Health and Allied Workers‘ Union.
The entire province has since been placed under administration.
The Revolutionary Council, which is made up former student leaders who fought for Bantustan leader Lucas Mangope to go, said although they welcomed the news of Mahumapelo‘s resignation, they did not understand what it meant.
“We are not sure about the retirement age of a premier, so we are not sure what he means by early retirement,” said member Lucky Kgabi.
He said they were of the view that the Mahumapelo‘s announcement might not be real.
“We will celebrate when we see the letter handed over to the speaker and an announcement of his resignation made,” said Kgabi.
Civic organisation Sanco also welcomed the news of Mahumapelo‘s decision and wished him well.
Its provincial chairperson Paul Sebegoe, said the organisation was “excited and elated” by what it termed a step in the right direction.
“This gives way to ensuring that people of the North West benefit from the little resources available,” said Sebegoe.
Some in the ANC described the news as winning a battle, telling News24 they had their sights set on a battle to disband the party‘s North West provincial executive committee (PEC).
The North West PEC is expected to be on the agenda when the ANC‘s highest decision-making body, the national executive committee (NEC), meets over the weekend.
“We are finishing this thing on Saturday. His resignation was just the war. The battle will be won when the NEC meets,” one NEC member said to News24.
Another confirmed this, saying Mahumapelo and his leadership collective needed to be disbanded.
“They need to go. He knows it‘s coming. He didn‘t just resign because he thought about it. He received a tongue lashing and knew that if he didn‘t step down, the NEC would have asked its members of the legislature to support a motion to remove him as premier,” said the NEC insider.
The North West SACP provincial secretary Madoda Sambatha said the organisation was grateful that Mahumapelo took the decision to step down.
“We accept it even if its termed an early retirement. It should not have come to this level. The ANC and alliance must learn to deal with matters at an infant level,” said Sambatha.
The ANC‘s deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte told journalists the party was grateful that Mahumapelo had taken a decision to step down. And from what she understood, he had submitted a letter informing Parliament of his decision.
“That‘s my understanding. A letter has been handed to the speaker of the Parliament. We also understand that thorough discussions have taken place within the PEC. There is no need for him to go back and have another discussion,” said Duarte.
She acknowledged that two weeks ago, the North West‘s PEC was unhappy about his decision but said they had since moved on from there.
“Today that is all water under the bridge,” said Duarte.