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The “Premier League” is ap­par­ently an off­shoot of the for­mer ANC pro­vin­cial chair­per­son’s fo­rum, which then in­cluded Zweli Mkhize and Paul Mashatile.

One of the first public projects of the Premier League was in 2013, when Free State Premier Ace Ma­gashule com­bined re­sources with North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo to save the ANC from los­ing cru­cial by-elec­tions in North West’s Tlokwe mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza was later as­so­ci­ated with the group.

The ti­tle Premier League was coined of­fi­cially ahead of the planned youth league con­fer­ence last Novem­ber, which was later turned into a con­sul­ta­tive con­fer­ence.


It emerged last Novem­ber that the strat­egy of the Premier League was to get its pre­ferred can­di­dates to emerge as lead­ers in both the youth league and the women’s league, with a view to us­ing both these struc­tures and their pro­vin­cial sup­port bases as launch pads to the ANC 2017 suc­ces­sion race. The ul­ti­mate goal ap­pears to be that at least one of the group’s mem­bers should be elected in the ANC’s top six in 2017.


The league has had early suc­cess in its 2017 cam­paign. Win­ning both the women’s league and the youth league con­fer­ence gave the group early mo­men­tum.

There is a risk, how­ever, that those iso­lated by the group could come to­gether and chal­lenge its plans. There are pow­er­ful ANC lead­ers who feel threat­ened by the Premier League and this may open the group to a sig­nif­i­cant of­fen­sive from in­side and out­side the party.


The lit­tle-known can­di­date, orig­i­nally from Taung in the North West, pipped two na­tional fig­ures for the youth league race. A for­mer MP, Maine was brought back to the North West by for­mer premier Thandi Modise, who ap­pointed him as a lo­cal gov­ern­ment MEC in 2013.

He has a back­ground in the ANC stu­dent move­ment, the Congress of SA Stu­dents. His op­po­nents, though, have linked him con­tro­ver­sially to a group of North West ANC lead­ers who left the party to join Cope in 2009 when Luthuli House dis­banded the North West ANC pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee be­cause of in­sta­bil­ity. But the Cope claims have not de­terred Maine’s rise in ANC struc­tures.

THREE LEAD­ERS From top: North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo; Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and Free State Premier Ace Ma­gashule

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