Supra Mahumapelo
Pretoria - The net is closing in on beleaguered North West premier and provincial strongman Supra Mahumapelo.

Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has called on the troubled provincial executive council to co-operate with the national government as cabinet takes over its administration.

Dlamini Zuma - who was supported by Mahumapelo at the ANC conference in December - is leading the inter-ministerial task team set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa to launch a probe following calls for Mahumapelo’s removal over a string of corruption allegations and maladministration which crippled governance in several departments.

The task team's preliminary findings, which were tabled before the cabinet last Wednesday, triggered Ramaphosa's decision to invoke section 100 of the constitution and take over control of the province from Mahumapelo, who has gone on a leave of absence. He has refused to step down from his post.

In a letter addressed to acting premier and finance MEC Wendy Nelson - which Independent Media has seen - Dlamini Zuma told the province to co-operate with the ministers who would be intervening in the administration of the province. The process is expected to take around six months.

“Cabinet also resolved that the inter-ministerial task team shall report to every cabinet meeting until the critical issues are resolved. We request the co-operation of the province with all the ministers and officials concerned as you have done with the inter-ministerial task team,” Dlamini Zuma said.

Mahumapelo’s scheduled meeting yesterday with the ANC top brass at the party's Luthuli House headquarters was cancelled at the 11th hour as some Top Six officials, including Ramaphosa, were still on a visit to KwaZulu-Natal following recent political assassinations.

Mahumapelo, who is also North West ANC chairman, was expected to explain decisions such as reversal of his resignation and taking leave of absence, and pronouncements that he would mobilise structures to support former president Jacob Zuma when he appears in court on corruption charges on June 8.

Mahumapelo is a strong backer of Zuma, and he and his supporters have accused those close to Ramaphosa of purging them for having supported Dlamini Zuma's presidential candidacy ahead of last year's ANC national elective conference.

Also yesterday, a group of disgruntled Free State ANC members close to ANC secretary-general and former ANC provincial chairman Ace Magashule called on his office to block his former backers from being removed from power by those who backed Ramaphosa.

In a memorandum, branch representatives from Thabo Mofutsanyana region called on the ANC leadership to punish councillors who voted with the opposition in a bid to force Maluti-a-Phofung mayor Vusi Tshabalala to quit..

The group slammed the current provincial task team for switching its allegiance to Ramaphosa’s faction and allowing the purging of those who did not back him.

“This is due to the REC and the PTT not being able to take decisive decision against these councillors after we have sensitised them in numerous letters. We as branches have a view that the PTT is part of factional politics led by the premier of the Free State, Sisi Ntombela, on a move to ensure that Tshabalala is removed,” the memorandum read.

Tshabalala, a close ally of Magashule, has been accused of improperly interfering in administration to facilitate the “illegal” employment in the municipality by the South African Municipal Workers Union, which has been calling for his removal.

On Thursday, Tshabalala succumbed to increasing pressure and tendered his resignation and is expected to vacate his office by the end of this month, a move that has left his backers bitter.

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe could not be reached for comment.

Pretoria News