Supra Mahumapelo has resigned as a member of the North West provincial legislature, paving the way for his successor, Job Mokgoro to take over as Premier on Friday. According to Eyewitness News (EWN), Mahumapelo was expected to resign after the ANC announced on Friday that Mokgoro was going to take over as premier.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule reportedly said there was nothing wrong with Mahumapelo resigning as he could focus on his ANC work. He remains ANC provincial chairperson in the province.
Magashule reportedly described the ANC provincial executive committee in the province as "intact", putting to bed rumours that it might be dissolved.
According to News24, Mahumapelo had to resign to create a vacancy in the provincial legislature for Mokgoro, who was not a member. Premiers are elected from the legislature.
The party was racing against time to meet a 30-day deadline for the election of a new premier, which comes with the risk of the dissolution of the legislature, forcing an early election.
"There will be a person resigning whether it will be Supra...we are discussing but we were really saying there is nothing wrong with comrade Supra resigning and focusing on work of the ANC. So, the caucus and ANC will be meeting tomorrow," ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said at a press conference on Thursday.
He was speaking at a briefing at Luthuli House where it was confirmed that Mokgoro was the new premier candidate.
Mokgoro was selected on Wednesday evening by the party's national working committee (NWC).
While Magashule called it a "unanimous decision", Mokgoro was seen as a compromised candidate as ANC and alliance members differed for more than a month over who should replace 50-year-old Muhumapelo.
During a meeting on Monday, the national executive committee could also not agree and deferred the decision to the NWC, which manages the day-to-day running of the party.
Mahumapelo was forced to step down in May, following weeks of violent protests in the province when his resignation was demanded.
Magashule defended Mokgoro's appointment, despite criticism on social media that the party had chosen an "old person" to lead the troubled province.
He said the former North West director general was a tried and tested administrator.
"He is indeed 70 years old, but you can see he has the energy to go and stabilise the situation there," he said.
Mokgoro is widely seen as a caretaker premier, expected to be in the position until the 2019 election.
His powers would also be limited after President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the province under administration earlier this year.
Magashule played down suggestions that there could be conflict between Mokgoro and Mahumapelo as the latter remains in the powerful position of chairperson of the party in the province.
"There [are] no two centres of power......power is the ANC - not an individual, it depends on the maturity of the individuals."
"We really hope and wish that [the] North West can understand and hear that the ANC needs all of them more than at any other time," he said.
Magashule and Mahumapelo confirmed that Mokgoro would be added to the party's provincial executive committee.
The ANC established an interministerial task-team to manage the province once it was placed under administration, following violent protests against Mahumapelo's administration.
According to TimesLive, the task team partially blamed Mahumapelo for the violence, saying it was his lack of engagement with unions that led to the violence.
- With News24