The battle to oust Mahumapelo gained steam on Wednesday after the ANC’s national working committee conceded that governance challenges could not be fixed in the troubled province with Mahumapelo remaining at the helm.
It is understood that the NWC agreed that Mahumapelo be formally presented with submissions from those calling for his removal, including the Inter-Ministerial Task Team set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate governance issues.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said party officials were trying to secure a meeting with Mahumapelo to discuss the problems rocking the province and his future.
The provincial agriculture and health departments have been identified as the biggest victims of rampant looting and misgovernance, alleged to have taken place in the provincial administration over the years under Mahumapelo, who has also been linked to the Gupta family.
Last month the SANDF was deployed to intervene in health-care services as the impasse threatened the stability of the province’s health following a two-month strike by the biggest public sector union, Nehawu (National Health Education & Allied Workers Union).
The task team was sent in following the outbreak of violent protests and looting of shops by residents in Mahikeng and other towns.
At least two NEC members who were aware of the decision said it would divide the party in the North West to push Mahumapelo as he still enjoyed considerable support.
“We are only hoping that he will be willing to leave because if he lobbies, it may leave the party more divided in the province, even if he is removed,” one NEC member said.
Several regional leaders in the North West, including Dr Kenneth Kaunda regional secretary Lopang Rothman, have vowed to defend Mahumapelo, labelling plans to oust him as a ploy to purge those who did not back Ramaphosa for ANC president.
Also on Wednesday, before the sitting of the ANC top brass, Ramaphosa met Nehawu’s national leadership, who had written to him presenting reasons why he must remove Mahumapelo and why the union did not recognise the provincial task team appointed by the premier to intervene in the deepening crisis in the health department.
Yesterday, Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said Ramaphosa had assured the union that the national government would now intervene in the province after it placed the health department under administration last week. “We finally sat with President Ramaphosa, the health minister and director general yesterday. We told him what we thought should happen,” he said.
Saphetha said the union would no longer co-operate with Mahumapelo and his team after meeting Ramaphosa and gaining understanding how the national intervention would work. “On the basis of the explanation, the national union concluded that it is not compelled to work or co-operate with the premier’s team."
Yesterday, the EFF tabled a fresh motion of no confidence against Mahumapelo after it abandoned its court bid to have the motion held through a secret ballot. EFF caucus leader Bessie Diale said waiting for the court decision would only delay Mahumapelo's removal.
The DA is backing the motion.