14/05/2018 10:17 SAST | Updated 14/05/2018 10:17 SAST

How Ramaphosa Is Stripping Away Supra's Power

North West has been placed under national administration, cutting off Mahumepelo's influence over provincial cabinet decisions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the media after a meeting on April 20 2018, as protests continued in Mahikeng.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the media after a meeting on April 20 2018, as protests continued in Mahikeng.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the first steps towards dismantling North West premier Supra Mahumapelo's influence in the province.

Ramaphosa wrote to national council of provinces chairperson Thandi Modise, notifying the house of the decision to place North West under national administration in terms of section 100 of the Constitution.

This effectively means that a task team will now take over key functions in the province, overseeing all major decisions including how various departments spend money.

Section 100 (1) says that when a province cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the national executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure its mandate is carried out. This includes assuming responsibility over provincial departments and the executive to maintain essential national standards or meet established minimum standards in running the province.

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

Last week, interministerial task-team convenor Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma wrote to acting North West premier Wendy Nelson informing her of the decision.

The task team will also report to every Cabinet meeting until issues in the province are resolved. The intervention usually lasts 180 days. Decisions taken by the government in the province must now be filtered through the task team for approval. It will also advise on changes it wants made.

This significantly minimises Mahumapelo's influence over provincial cabinet decisions, or the awarding of departmental contracts (which he is alleged to have control over in the province).

In previous interviews with HuffPost, analysts said the ANC might not simply drop the axe on Mahumapelo, who remains the party's chairperson in the province.

"The ANC won't get rid of him the normal way — [it] may offer him something he can't refuse. And if he does refuse, the party could pull away the pillars of his power, perhaps by disbanding his provincial executive committee and establishing a provincial task team in its place," said politics expert Theo Venter.

This would further strip Mahumapelo's power as chairperson of the party.