ANC moves to un­seat NW premier Mahumapelo

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Natasha Mar­rian

THE ANC is ap­proach­ing the re­moval of North West premier Supra Mahumapelo in a man­ner sim­i­lar to the way it got rid of for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

The party’s na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee is send­ing its of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy Pres­i­dent David Mabuza, to meet Mahumapelo to dis­cuss a so­lu­tion to the im­passe.

The gov­ern­ing party also said that the na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee had dis­cussed lead­er­ship is­sues in other prov­inces.

The talks with Mahumapelo would in­clude call­ing on him to re­sign in the in­ter­est of the peo­ple of the North West … and the move­ment broadly.

In­sid­ers say that Mahumapelo is un­likely to defy the ANC lead­er­ship.

Fear was ex­pressed in the na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing that other prov­inces might fol­low a sim­i­lar ap­proach to re­move sit­ting premiers. There are also jit­ters about a pos­si­ble back­lash from Mahumapelo’s sup­port­ers.

The North West has been gripped by protests for three months, with calls from the ANC, the South African Com­mu­nist Party and Cosatu for Mahumapelo’s re­moval.

The cab­i­net placed the provin­cial health depart­ment un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion last week. In terms of the lead­er­ship chal­lenges re­ferred to in the ANC state­ment, Busi­ness Day un­der­stands this in­cluded the Eastern Cape, where there are moves to re­place the premier.

Ac­cord­ing to a let­ter from the of­fice of sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule, two na­tional or­gan­is­ers would be sent to the prov­ince to in­ter­vene.

PRO­TEST­ERS are again block­ing ac­cess to hospi­tals in the North West and are threat­en­ing to burn doc­tors who try to treat pa­tients.

Dr Ebrahim Ve­ri­ava‚ a Wits pro­fes­sor and spe­cial­ist at Tshe­p­ong Hos­pi­tal, is mon­i­tor­ing the im­pact of the protests on his col­leagues and the hospi­tals serv­ing poor and dis­ad­van­taged pa­tients.

Union Ne­hawu has been on a go-slow in the prov­ince since Fe­bru­ary‚ dis­rupt­ing medicine sup­ply and is now keep­ing nurses from work.

The union is tired of cor­rup­tion in the health sec­tor and a short­age of med­i­cal staff in hospi­tals.

There are ap­par­ently at least 1 000 fewer posts for doc­tors and nurses in the past three years‚ ac­cord­ing to the Ru­ral Health Project.

The union also wants premier Supra Mahumapelo to re­sign.

Ve­ri­ava was one of the au­thors who wrote a let­ter last week on be­half 70 doc­tors call­ing for an in­ter­ven­tion in the prov­ince‚ say­ing the con­tin­ued de­lay in ac­cess­ing health­care meant pa­tients could not be treated in good time.

The let­ter was a des­per­ate plea for in­ter­ven­tion to stop the Ne­hawu strik­ers dis­rupt­ing hospi­tals.

Yes­ter­day‚ a na­tional task team of govern­ment mem­bers vis­ited the em­bat­tled prov­ince.

Doc­tors have also asked that a task team deal with the fact that hos­pi­tal se­cu­rity is not able to stop mobs of peo­ple storm­ing hospi­tals.

Civil rights group Sec­tion 27 yes­ter­day con­demned the vi­o­lence at hospi­tals.

In a state­ment it said: “The vi­o­lence and dis­rup­tion of health­care ser­vices is lead­ing to im­me­di­ate loss of life as pa­tients are de­nied en­try to health fa­cil­i­ties and doc­tors and oth­ers are pre­vented from pro­vid­ing care.

“Some of the re­ports we have re­ceived in­clude pro­test­ers in­vad­ing the­atres‚ threats to the lives of doc­tors‚ doc­tors be­ing force­fully re­moved from hos­pi­tal wards and en­trances to hospi­tals be­ing blocked off‚ mean­ing no sup­plies or drugs can be de­liv­ered.

“We con­sider such forms of protest to be grossly ir­re­spon­si­ble and morally rep­re­hen­si­ble.”

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