POLITICS
23/05/2018 07:48 SAST | Updated 23/05/2018 08:41 SAST

This Is Why North West Is In Such A Shambles

As we await the ANC to explain the way forward on Wednesday, we look at why the embattled province is in such a mess.

City Press

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule will on Wednesday brief members of the media on the developments in North West, the party said in a statement.

North West remains on edge with calls for premier Supra Mahumapelo's head to roll and those within his party reportedly already discussing who should take up the mantle.

The situation escalated in April when the province's capital, Mahikeng, was brought to a standstill by violent protesters rallying for Mahumapelo's removal as North West's leader.

But tensions in the province have been rising for years, with communities growing tired over poor service delivery, corruption, maladministration and the failure of one project after the other.

And when Mahumapelo took over in 2014, he did not make things any better.

Despite mounting claims of corruption surrounding him, and his alleged implication in the state capture project spearhead by the controversial Gupta family, Mahumapelo has not exactly been the poster child of a clean administration.

This becomes most clear on close inspection of two audit reports by the Auditor-General (AG) of South Africa of North West since Mahumapelo took over. This is not to say the province had a clean sheet before Mahumapelo's arrival; but the outlook for the province, according to the AG's findings, did not improve since then.

READ: Who Is Supra Mahumapelo, And Why Is He So Powerful?

In the 2015/16 financial year, the AG found that the outcomes of public entities in the province remained poor with seven of them being disclaimed. It found that the then performance and outcomes of public entities could be attributed to a "lack of effective monitoring by the provincial leadership" as well as the responsible departments.

A lack of management, according to the AG, led to increased levels of irregular expenditure. More than R13-billion of unresolved irregular expenditure remained for the province.

This continued into the next financial year.

In 2016/17, the AG found specific problems with Mahumapelo's office.

READ: If Supra Goes, Who Will Replace Him?

"Of specific concern is the audit outcome of the premier's office, which has remained qualified for the last two years with increasing irregular expenditure... The lack of improvement in audit outcomes indicates that the provincial executive leadership was not interested in our messages and that, overall, there were poor accountability and consequence management," the report said.

"The slow response by management to address root causes and the lack of consequence management for continued transgressions and poor performance should have been the priority of the provincial executive leadership, as highlighted in the previous year's general report."

It was found that the overall audit outcomes of North West regressed with only 32 percent of the auditees obtaining financially unqualified opinions in 2016/17 compared to 46 percent in 2015/16 and 62 percent in 2014/15.

The total unresolved balance for the province was found to have increased again to R16.5-billion.

But at the heart of the protests calling for Mahumapelo's removal is service delivery.

For example, completed schools were not properly commissioned. A housing project was delayed for over 20 months - 503 housing units had to be demolished and rebuilt owing to quality defects, despite the contractor having been paid in full.

Then comes the list of recent controversies surrounding Mahumapelo.

In March, the Hawks raided his offices for documents relating to the multimillion-rand IT contract with Nepo Data Dynamics. News24 reported that Mahumapelo had shunned state-owned IT service providers and opted for a private firm instead.

Then there are allegations that Mahumapelo authorised a trip for senior health officials from his province to India – paid for by a Gupta-linked company. The trip was reportedly 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.

But at the heart of the protests calling for Mahumapelo's removal is service delivery.

The protests, which saw shops being looted, cars burnt and hospital patients dying because medical supplies could not reach them, has simmered down since president Cyril Ramaphosa and top ANC leadership intervened. It is believed Mahumapelo's fate will be discussed at an NEC meeting later in May.