Former president Jacob Zuma and North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Johannesburg - North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo’s comments made at former president Jacob Zuma’s court appearance has caused more strain on the governing party’s relationship with the SACP in the province.

At the weekend, the SACP abandoned a meeting scheduled with the ANC and Cosatu and vowed not to attend future gatherings between allies, saying Mahumapelo had disrespected President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Addressing Zuma supporters outside the Durban High Court, Mahumapelo described those who disapproved of his support for the embattled former president as mentally challenged. He added that Zuma was still “our president”.

The ANC-led alliance in North West had planned to hold a political council over the weekend, but the SACP resolved not to attend. It also said it would not attend any future events involving Mahumapelo.

On Sunday, SACP provincial secretary Madoda Sambatha told Independent Media that, while the party was part of preparations for the meeting, which was eventually called off, it was offended by Mahumapelo’s “our president” description of Zuma.

“This is an attack on the ANC's president. Mahumapelo knows Ramaphosa was elected president and that he can therefore no longer refer to any other as such," Sambatha said.

North West alliance relations have been at a low since the SACP and Cosatu demanded Mahumapelo’s removal amid a storm of allegations of corruption and poor governance.

Sambatha said they would not meet with the ANC until the party’s national executive committee (NEC) takes a decision on the future of the North West provincial structure later this month.

“We will not give them legitimacy when he disregards an ANC president in public. We will not go to any alliance process in the province that is going to be chaired by this person up until the ANC decides on the future of the provincial structure. As long as he has this anarchic tendency, we will not dignify his meetings with our presence,” he said.

The decision has caught the party’s national leadership by surprise, as they were not informed about it before it was taken. SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo said the party’s national leaders were expecting an urgent report from their provincial structure on the decision by today.

“We expect a report as a matter of urgency. We will handle the matter based on the report. We will handle the matter from a point of view of building the alliance and ensuring that we restore relations,” Mashilo said.

Mahumapelo could not be reached for comment and ANC provincial spokesperson Gerald Modise had not responded to questions by the time of publication. Cosatu provincial secretary Job Dliso said while the federation had issues with the ANC, it would not boycott meetings of the alliance.

“We are from a PEC (provincial executive committee) meeting and we have a resolution. Part of it is to engage with all the alliance partners, so we can’t avoid meeting with the ANC. It is our view that there must be a political council. We want to raise issues as Cosatu and we have agreed that it must be properly constituted, and that we will be part of the arrangements,” Dliso said.

Political Bureau