'We want Supra out' - a fresh bid launched to oust the NW premier
Rustenburg – There is a fresh public bid to oust North West ANC chairperson and premier Supra Mahumapelo – this time by party members who believe they will have the ear of Luthuli House.
"This is the 'second revolution'. We want to do to Supra what we did to [Lucas] Mangope [late Bantustan leader] before 1994… Supra has become a dictator in a democratic state," member Thato Magogodi told News24.
Magogodi and former member of Parliament Lucky Kgabi are some of the public faces of the newly formed 'revolutionary council' who are mobilising party members and members of the public to stand against Mahumapelo – a man they accuse of collapsing governance in the province, rampant corruption and destroying the image of the ANC.
"We as the 'revolutionary council' want to overthrow him. He has embarrassed the ANC, he has kicked people who are vocal out of the party. His corruption has to come to an end," said Magogodi.
They believe if Mahumapelo continues at the helm, the ANC will lose the "platinum province" come the 2019 elections.
The council will launch its "Save North West" campaign at the weekend in the capital, Mahikeng.
They claim to have the support of trade union federation Cosatu, the SA Communist Party (SACP), local chiefs and civil society movements in the province.
As part of the campaign, the group has launched a corruption register – to allow members of the public and civil servants to report corruption in the province – claiming to have evidence on at least four cases so far that implicate Mahumapelo.
They will also be collecting signatures from party members in the province to remove Mahumapelo as provincial chair and from members of the public who want him out as premier.
The signature campaign will be submitted to newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa as evidence that Mahumapelo "is no longer wanted in North West".
"The national conference was very clear on corruption – that we must root it out of the organisation. We know that the North West is corrupt, it is rampant so we don’t just want the national conference to be just a talk shop," said Kgabi.
"We must take those resolutions and put them into practice.
"We are taking a cue from what the SG (secretary general) said at the 54th national conference, that there is no organisation in the North West. Just a group of thugs organised by a so-called chairperson."
Several attempts have been made in the past to unseat Mahumapelo, with the North West Business Forum turning to songs, the media and the courts in 2017. Mahumapelo however emerged unscathed, but the "revolutionary council" believes the timing is perfect to get the job done now with Ramaphosa at the helm.
"The balance of forces have shifted," said Magogodi.
Mahumapelo is a close ally of Ramaphosa's party predecessor Jacob Zuma and supported Ramaphosa's rival Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the party's presidential race.
Kgabi said they didn’t expect Ramaphosa to clean the party throughout all of its structures and believed they were on the ground to do the job.
"We know how the ANC is supposed be, but what we have now is not the ANC. We want to start afresh and build a proper ANC, so we can't wait any longer."
However, the ANC in the North West has dismissed the threat of rolling mass action against its chairperson, saying it was not bothered with "faceless people".
"We can’t stop them, but the reality is that they are not doing this on behalf of the ANC. They have an issue, we just don’t know if it’s personal, or what the problem is," said the province’s acting secretary Susan Dantjie.
She said if those seeking to remove Mahumapelo were true ANC members they would know to go through party processes to register their complaints.
"What I can assure you is that [as] branches of the ANC in the North West, we rally behind our provincial chairperson who was elected through democratically elected processes of the ANC," said Dantjie.
He did not come "through the backdoor" but was elected, she said.
Dantjie said that this would not be the first time Mahumapelo faced an onslaught from his own province.
"They did this after the Sun City conference – comrade Supra and his PEC (Provincial Executive Committee) were disbanded, and what did he do? He came back through processes of the ANC," said the acting provincial secretary.
She dismissed claims that Mahumapelo had gotten rid of some of the party’s best comrades in the North West, asking "how does one person chase out another when they joined as individuals?"
Dantjie, who called members of the "revolutionary council" faceless cowards, said that if they had a personal problem with the provincial chair they should meet and discuss their issues with him.
She also denied that there would be attempts to intimidate those seeking to demonstrate against Mahumapelo.
"I don’t think provincial chairpersons have time to worry about faceless people. He has bigger things to worry about," she said, speaking of Mahumapelo’s responsibilities for both the party and the people along the platinum belt.