Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - The ANC has defended its decision to boot out former North West chairperson Supra Mahumapelo and his provincial executive, saying they were incapable of leading the party.

On Wednesday, Mahumapelo and his allies took the ANC’s national executive committee to the South Gauteng High Court, where they argued for their removal to be declared invalid and illegal.

The structure was dissolved last year, before the party’s top brass replaced it with a provincial task team.

Speaking on behalf of the applicants, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said the decision was illegal.

Ngcukaitobi said the ANC’s national executive committee had chosen to ignore the report compiled by its man sent to the platinum province, Obed Bapela, who instead recommended that the provincial structure be put under administration.

Advocate William Mokhari, for the ANC, said the leadership under Mahumapelo could not be salvaged as it put the party in a shambles, making it unable to even prepare for the coming elections.

“The national working committee (NWC) had gone there and through those road shows in all four regions, meetings were disrupted. Members of the NWC had to leave the meetings. They saw that the organisation was completely weakened and it must be strengthened for the upcoming elections.

“Preceding even those disruptive meetings, the North West was on fire. Everybody saw it on television and it’s public knowledge. One of the regional structures has been operating illegally for two years under the stewardship of the PEC,” Mokhari said.

The disbandment of the structure followed the removal of Mahumapelo as premier in the province, after violent protests over poor governance and corruption allegations under his watch, which saw the provincial administration being taken over by the national government.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, also for the applicants, stressed that the removal of the North West PEC was also illegal as branches which elected the it were not consulted. Mokhari, however, told the court that the ANC was not obliged to consult branches before it took the decision.

“The point we are making is that the ANC constitution does not provide for consultation with branches and regions when it dissolves or suspends its PEC. What the ANC did however, through the NEC, was dispatch the NWC members to all the four regions of the North West to determine the organisational state and what they found there was an organisation in ­disarray and reports were made,” he said.

Mokhari said the ANC was exercising its discretionary powers by removing Mahumapelo and his collective.

Political Bureau