ANC Is Said to Favor Direct Rule Over South African Province

(Bloomberg) -- A top body of South Africa’s ruling party wants the government to put the North West province under direct rule after days of protests against the African National Congress’s premier rocked the area, according to two officials with knowledge of the matter.

The ANC’s National Working Committee may propose the measure to the National Executive Committee after some of its members visited the province on Tuesday, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations haven’t been made public.

The party’s concern has grown following sometimes violent demonstrations against Premier Supra Mahumapelo, an opponent of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful bid for the party’s presidency in December and an ally of former leader Jacob Zuma. Instituting direct rule over the province would offer Ramaphosa an opportunity to increase his authority over the party and remove one of his biggest adversaries.

Ramaphosa last week cut short his participation in a Commonwealth leaders’ meeting in London to return to South Africa to deal with the protests. Disgruntlement with Mahumapelo’s leadership has been mounting over his handling of a graft scandal and his sidelining of his ANC rivals in the North West.

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe couldn’t be contacted by phone, and didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment. National Communications Manager Donovan Cloete said “no such decision was taken.”

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