A police officer restrains a protester in Mahikeng, in the North West province. Picture: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed an inter-ministerial task team to "give urgent attention to matters of governance and risks facing" protest-riddled the North West province, his office said.

In a statement released on Thursday night, the Presidency said that the development followed Ramaphosa's visit to the province on April 20, and was a response to appeals by North West residents and "a range of other concerned stakeholders that government should intervene".

"At its meeting of Wednesday, April 25 2018, Cabinet deliberated on the unstable situation that has unfolded in North West, and which has affected a number of services, particularly health services," Ramaphosa's office said.

"Among other resolutions, Cabinet approved the invoking of Section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, to address the apparent crisis, particularly in the health sector."

Residents in Mahikeng went on a rampage on April 18, shutting down the province's capital, looting shops and damaging property. They were calling for North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo to resign over allegations of corruption. The anti-Mahumapelo protest had spilled over to other parts of the province.

Ramaphosa has directed the task team to conduct an urgent assessment of the state of governance in the province; advise Cabinet on potential risks facing the province; provide Cabinet with a comprehensive report on the state of governance in the province at the Cabinet meeting on May 9; and remain seized with the North West matter until all critical issues are resolved.

The task team convenor will be Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; and will comprise of Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi; Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize; Public Works Minister, Thulas Nxesi; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Senzeni Zokwana; Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Police Minister Bheki Cele; State Security Minister, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba; and Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Advocate Michael Masutha.

North West police said over 400 people have been arrested since the protest started in Mahikeng. On Wednesday night, 150 people were arrested in Klerksdorp and Sannieshof, and police recovered looted goods including a casket.

African News Agency/ANA