Johannesburg - The revelation that North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo gave former president Jacob Zuma a herd of cattle meant for emerging farmers has intensified calls for his removal.
On Sunday, opposition parties in the province slammed Mahumapelo, with the EFF saying it had written to the Public Protector to investigate the allegations against Mahumapelo and Zuma.
The Sunday Times reported that a herd of cattle - 24 cows and a bull - worth R1.5million were given as a gift to Zuma by Mahumapelo.
The matter is being investigated by the Hawks elite crime-fighting unit, with the intention of prosecuting both Mahumapelo and Zuma.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Zuma and Mahumapelo should be held criminally liable for the saga.
“Both Mahumapelo and Zuma must be investigated and, if found guilty, they must not only pay back the money, they must be held criminally liable for abuse of state funds. It is not possible that Zuma can claim he wrongly benefited from state money without any knowledge, as was the case with the Nkandla homestead security upgrades,” Ndlozi said in a statement.
“This time, the Public Protector must not only recover public funds wrongly used for the private benefit of Zuma but must charge relevant law enforcement agencies to prosecute Zuma and Mahumapelo for stealing state cattle,” he added.
DA provincial leader Joe McGluwa said he felt vindicated by the reports as he and the party had pointed out corruption in the provincial Agriculture Department.
“This is nothing new. I have warned about this, including tractors whose money had been allocated but were not delivered to beneficiaries. When I raised the issue of corruption within the Agriculture Department in the North West legislature, I was called names,” McGluwa said.
McGluwa said the funds used to buy the cattle for Zuma were taken from the budget aimed at uplifting black emerging farmers, adding that Mahumapelo’s action warranted criminal prosecution.
“This shows how seriously Supra is taking black farmers. If what has been revealed does not warrant President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire him, his so-called renewal programme will be meaningless,” said McGluwa. “Mahumapelo and the ANC have been asking for proof; now they must go defend themselves in court. These people are a law unto themselves and are very arrogant.”
The ANC Top Six leadership and the party’s national working committee were due to meet today for their ordinary sitting, where they were to discuss growing calls for Mahumapelo’s removal from both within the ANC and opposition parties, among other items.
Brian Setswambung, Mahumapelo’s spokesperson, had not responded to questions by Sunday night.
Violence erupted in North West last week as residents took to the streets seeking Mahumapelo’s recall following corruption allegations against him and alleged maladministration in the provincial government.
The protests forced Ramaphosa to cut short his trip to the UK, and saw an emergency meeting held by the ANC and its alliance partners to try to resolve the problem.