The ANC’s national working committee (NWC) has decided on Job Mokgoro, 70, as their pick for new North West premier, News24 reports.
Mokgoro, the former director-general in the province, was picked during a special NWC meeting on Wednesday night.
The party made its decision with little time to spare – the 30-day deadline to replace Supra Mahumapelo on Friday.
Mahumapelo resigned on May 23, going into “early retirement” following weeks of violent protests against his leadership amid corruption allegations.
The judge president of the North West High Court in Mahikeng has called for a sitting of the legislature on Friday to fill the vacancy.
If the position is not filled within 30 days, the Constitution calls for the dissolution of the legislature, forcing an early election.
There has been some dispute within the ANC regarding who Mahumapelo’s replacement should be. Supra himself put pressure on the party to replace him with one of his allies, while the SACP, Cosatu and Sanco have been pushing for someone more neutral.
Mokgoro’s appointment, then, was seen as something of a compromise. He is neither a part of the party’s provincial executive or government – as Mahumapelo would have wanted – or the first choice of the three alliance partners.
The NWC was left with the difficult decision of finding a replacement for Mahumapelo, after the National Executive Committee (NEC) could not agree on a name during a special meeting held on Monday.
If he becomes premier as per the ANC’s plan, Mokgoro should lead until the 2019 elections.
President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the North West province under administration in May following repeated protest action demanding that Mahumapelo step down.
Since his resignation, the ANC’s national leadership has struggled to come to an agreement with the provincial executive committee (PEC) over who should take over the reins in the deeply divided province.
The fate of the PEC is still in the balance, with a source saying the NWC would need to meet to decide a way forward for the committee, as some members are implicated in a report that was commissioned by President Ramaphosa to investigate the state of the province.
Mokgoro was married to Justice Yvonne Mokgoro.
He has a reputation for being strict, honest and accountable.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is expected to announce Mokgoro’s candidacy at 11am.