ANC moves to unseat NW premier Mahumapelo
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.”