POLITICS
23/05/2018 13:30 SAST | Updated 23/05/2018 13:41 SAST

As North West Boss Supra Quits, Is The Premier League Finally Disabled?

Mahumapelo quit in what he called an “early retirement” – he is 49 years old and is known as the "Black Jesus" of North West.

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ANALYSIS

With North West premier Supra Mahumapelo resigning on Wednesday, has President Cyril Ramaphosa disabled the "premier league" on the 100th day of his presidency?

With Mahumapelo gone, all three principals of the once-powerful faction organised around the three premiers of Free State, North West and Mpumalanga are now out of their positions. They have lost leverage over the powerful provincial money-pots and cannot engage in provincial power politics any longer.

The provinces receive 43% of the national budget that has enabled the premiers to build massive and powerful patronage networks.

READ MORE: This Is Why North West Is In Such A Shambles

The league consisted of Mahumapelo, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule (former Free State premier) and deputy president David Mabuza (former Mpumalanga premier). Their faction is now all but neutered as a political force that can lobby and mass against Ramaphosa, who still only holds limited authority in the factional ANC. He won by only 179 votes to take the party presidency in December at its presidential elective conference.

Mahumapelo quit in what he called an 'early retirement' – he is 49 years old and is known as the 'Black Jesus' of North West.

It is not clear whether he will continue as the provincial chief of the ANC, a position that holds great political authority and power. As he quit, Mahumapelo painted himself as a politician who had inherited the detritus of the Bophuthatswana homeland, which had made it difficult for him to deal with the development deficits of the province — which sits on some of the richest platinum belts in the country, but which is among its poorest regions.

The province is currently under national administration, because it is in near collapse. Regular protests grip North West.

A report issued by the Auditor-General [AG], Kimi Makwetu, on Wednesday revealed that municipal government in North West is in a parlous situation. Not a single municipality received a clean audit, and the report blamed a slow response by the political leadership for the lack of progress in service delivery in the province's local governments.

Makwetu said the audit environment in North West has grown more hostile and that in two instances, auditors could not access municipalities because of strikes and protests.

A previous report on provincial finances by Makwetu last year revealed that Mahumapelo's office was of "specific concern" for the AG. In the period 2016/17, the province racked up R3.6-billion in irregular expenditure. In 78 percent of the entities in North West, liabilities exceeded assets.

The provincial government oversees 13 departments and 23 entities.