Premier of South Africa’s North West province Supra Mahumapelo denied media reports he stepped down in the face of mounting political and public pressure including violent protests against him last month.
Asked directly by reporters if he had resigned, Mahumapelo said he was waiting to hear from the executive committee of the African National Congress.
“I will listen to what the PEC (Provincial Executive Committee) say … Let’s wait and see,” he said as a boisterous crowd of ANC supporters shouted and chanted.
Acting North West provincial secretary Susan Dantjie told journalists after a PEC meeting Mahumapelo was instructed to go on leave pending an investigation into governance issues in the province.
“The PEC resolved Comrade Supra Mahumapelo must take leave and allow the inter-ministerial task team to proceed with the processes and in the meantime must appoint an acting premier,” she said.
Mahumapelo is a political ally of scandal-plagued former president Jacob Zuma, replaced in February by Cyril Ramaphosa, who vowed to clean up governance in Africa’s most industrialised economy.
Last month Ramaphosa cut short a visit to a Commonwealth summit in Britain to travel to North West and calm tensions after crowds started protesting against poor public service and demanding Mahumapelo’s resignation.
Ramaphosa placed the platinum-rich province’s health and treasury departments under central government control and deployed military medics to treat hospital patients.