NEWS
20/04/2018 11:29 SAST | Updated 23/04/2018 22:31 SAST

Mahikeng Chaos: This Is Why NW Protesters Want Supra To Go

Residents have had enough of North West premier Supra Mahumapelo. Here are some of the reasons.

Netwerk24

North West capital Mahikeng remains on shutdown, amid calls from raging communities for provincial premier Supra Mahumapelo to go.

The violence has caused at least one death so far – a man was killed in a vehicle crash, allegedly while fleeing the police.

On Thursday shops were closed, as residents blockaded roads with rocks, timber, burning tyres and other flaming items.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had to cut short his visit to the U.K. to convene an urgent meeting with ANC leaders over the protests, which, demonstrators claim, are about dissatisfaction with the premier's leadership.

"To pay attention to the situation in ... North West, the president has decided to cut short his participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, where he is leading a government delegation," a presidency statement read.

Ramaphosa had arrived in the town in his presidential motorcade by Friday morning.

Why are residents of North West so angry?

Here are some of the controversies dogging Mahumapelo, which many protesters say are the reasons he should go:

1. Hawks raid relating to corruption and fraud

In March, the Hawks raided the offices of the premier looking for documents related to the multimillion-rand IT contract with Nepo Data Dynamics. According to reports by SowetanLive, the raid on Mahumapelo's offices came as pressure was mounting on another erstwhile Zuma backer, former water affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane – as Parliament's public accounts committee had just summoned her to appear before it.

2. Motion of no confidence

North West EFF MECs tabled a motion of no-confidence to remove the premier, following complaints against him – complaints that alleged maladministration in provincial departments and included a string of allegations of corruption against Mahumapelo personally, including his reported ties with the Guptas.

However, earlier this week, the speaker in the North West legislature, Susan Dantje, postponed the debate, until an EFF court challenge has been settled, News24 reported on Tuesday. The party wants the court to order the speaker to allow a secret ballot for the no-confidence vote, in the hope that disgruntled ANC members will be able to help them unseat Mahumapelo without being punished by their party.

3. Gupta links

Mahumapelo allegedly authorised a trip for senior health officials from his province to India – paid for by a Gupta-linked company.

Provincial health department head Thabo Lekalakala on Friday revealed to the joint standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) and the health portfolio committee that Mahumapelo authorised a trip to India for himself and other officials, City Press reported.

According to the report, the trip was undertaken to inspect Gupta-linked company Mediosa's high-tech mobile-clinic service – and led in turn to an allegedly improper deal between the Indian company and North West's department of health, which is currently under investigation by National Treasury.

ANC Youth League president Collin Maine has also claimed that Mahumapelo was the person who introduced him to the Guptas.

4. DA charges over premier's son's bursary

On Monday, a DA statement revealed that the party has laid criminal charges of fraud and corruption against Mahumapelo and Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe, in terms of Sections 50 and 51 of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA).

Over the weekend, reports emerged that Ntshepe signed off on a R1.1-million Denel bursary for Mahumapelo's son without following due procedure.