DEFIANCE: Supra Mahumapelo
Backers of embattled North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo - whose entire provincial government has now been put under administration by Pre- ident Cyril Ramaphosa - have vowed to fight back against what they call “political purging”.

Ramaphosa on Friday invoked section 100 of the constitution to take control of the troubled province.

Mahumapelo was today expected to present himself before the ANC’s Top Six leaders, who seek answers on why he made an about-turn about his resignation.

The leaders also want to question him about controversial decisions he took, such as taking a leave of absence and appointing an acting premier.

The report of the inter-ministerial team probing allegations of corruption and maladministration is expected to be on the table.

The team was led by the Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Mahumapelo’s supporters are currently mobilising ANC structures in the platinum province in a bid to block calls for his ousting from within and outside the ANC-led alliance, which triggered violent protests last month.

Yesterday, regional leaders who are part of Mahumapelo’s plan to mobilise structures in his support said the provincial chairperson was not going anywhere.

“He is going nowhere. The premier is serving here based on the mandate of the people of this province and it is under his leadership that the ANC was voted into power in this province.

“The president may have powers to invoke section 100, but we hope this is not informed by political interests of those who backed him in December,” an unidentified regional leader said.

“We as the leadership in this province have seen this from the outset there are provinces that are being punished for not rallying behind the president, including this one.

“It is our view that while we may have challenges in the province, they are not unlike other provinces, and there is no proof before us that those challenges are because of the premier, so we will defend him,” he said.

Mahumapelo, a strong backer of former president Jacob Zuma, has been located at the heart of a string of corruption allegations and has been accused of using his position to facilitate looting for him and his inner political circle.

He has, however, stressed that he and Zuma were innocent and vowed to mobilise support for the former president when he appears in court on June 8.

Another regional leader said only the ANC national executive committee could decide on whether Mahumapelo should vacate his post.

“We are running a risk of being called defiant here, but the national officials and the national working committee have not communicated anything to us officially on what they wanted as a way forward in this province.

“We all want stability but we will not accept political victimisation by those who think they own the organisation because of Nasrec outcomes.

“We should be focusing on 2019 instead of dividing ourselves,” he said.

The Kenneth Kaunda re- gional executive committee, which is firmly behind Mahumapelo, was to meet today to discuss its defence of the premier.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe refused to comment on the North West impasse, insisting that the party’s leadership would first get reports on the latest developments and meet with Mahumapelo before publicly stating its stand.

“I cannot give you my personal attitude. It has to be a decision of the leadership after meeting and deciding.

“We will get the reports and a briefing from him and we will formulate our attitude and communicate it to the nation. That is all I am prepared to say now,” Mabe said.

Cosatu provincial secretary Job Dliso applauded Ramaphosa’s decision to shift control of the provincial administration to the national government, saying it would help stop rampant corruption.

“We applaud President Ramaphosa for this decision because this is what we suggested to the inter-ministerial task team.

“Our main concern was corruption... and we think this national intervention will help in addressing this crisis,” Dliso said.

He, however, lamented that Mahumapelo remained the premier of the troubled province.

“We were about to applaud him when he announced his resignation, but his decision to reverse that is regrettable and he needs to be removed so that the process of cleaning up is not frustrated,” Dliso said.