It’s typical of the man – with his absolute, arrogant belief in his political importance – that North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo decided to call his stepping-down yesterday an “early retirement”, rather than the forced resignation it was.
In the face of mounting violence from his home province, and calls for him to go, Mahumapelo brazenly moved to pack the provincial ANC with his acolytes, indicating he was preparing to intensify, rather than reduce his grip on the levers of power in the province.
And, now that the ANC has, apparently, given in to him and allowed him to retain the position of chair of the provincial executive committee in North West, he is a long way from being neutralised politically.
This state of affairs poses a difficult problem for the ANC leadership, and in particular President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has pinned his political heart to his sleeve in his commitment to tackle corruption and bring to book those who have been involved in it.
Mahumapelo will, we believe, try to “white ant” his replacement as premier and also undermine the people sent to run the province after it was placed under the stewardship of the national government recently. This will mean the “two centres” of power issue will again arise to haunt the ANC.
Ramaphosa will have to deal firmly with any move by Mahumapelo to interfere with any of the processes aimed at reviving the province the North West premier drove downwards into failure.
The priority, now, will be restoring decent services to the people in North West because, if that is not done, and not done quickly, there will be more, and even worse, violence on the streets.
Given that Ramaphosa is a determined person, and plays to a long-term game plan, we would warn Mahumapelo to step carefully.