Zuma ally sent on leave after South Africa riots
South Africa’s ruling ANC party Wednesday sent a provincial premier on forced leave after his alleged corruption sparked violent riots, as President Cyril Ramaphosa struggles to impose control over the party.
Supra Mahumapelo, a close ally of ousted former president Jacob Zuma, refused to resign despite a reported request from Ramaphosa, who took power in February.
Ramaphosa came into office promising to fight the corruption scandals that engulfed the African National Congress (ANC) under his predecessor Zuma.
Mahumapelo is the premier of North West province, where public anger over corruption and poor public services erupted last month with shops looted, cars burnt and protesters clashing with the police.
The ANC resolved that Mahumapelo “must take leave and allow the ministerial task team to proceed (with tackling the province’s problems),” local party official Susan Dantjie told reporters.
Ramaphosa cut short his trip to a summit to Britain over the unrest in North West province, which has emerged one of the first serious challenges to face the new president.
Xolani Dube, an analyst with the Durban-based think-tank Xubera, said Ramaphosa risked “being a president of South Africa with no power in his own party”.
Mahumalepo on Wednesday alleged a political conspiracy to remove him on “spurious, concocted” grounds.
Zuma resigned as president after the ANC turned against him largely due to his mounting legal troubles and multiple corruption scandals ahead of elections next year.
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