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Ally of ousted South African president Zuma steps down

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FILE PHOTO: South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma chats with Premier of North West Province Supra Mahumapelo before addressing the National Youth Day commemoration, under the theme “The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment”, in Ventersdorp, South Africa June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

A key ally of former South African president Jacob Zuma announced Wednesday he would resign as premier of North West province after violent protests over alleged corruption and mismanagement.

Supra Mahumapelo’s resignation was seen as a victory for President Cyril Ramaphosa in a power struggle within the ruling ANC (African National Congress) ahead of elections next year.

North West province was brought to a standstill last month when residents took to the streets looting shops, burning cars and clashing with police in protests against Mahumapelo.

Mahumapelo had previously refused to step down despite a reported request from Ramaphosa, who has vowed to tackle corruption after taking office in February.

“I am going on early retirement,” Mahumapelo told reporters. “If I continue to stay in the office and I am also accused… it will be very difficult to avoid the accusation that you are abusing the office.”

ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule welcomed Magashule’s resignation but dismissed suggestions of a purge of Zuma supporters.

“We support his move as it has been a difficult period,” Magashule said. “There is no purge.”

Ramaphosa earlier this month took the unprecedented step of taking the North West provincial administration under central government control.


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