ANC Picks Mokgoro to Run South Africa's North West Province

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s ruling African National Congress picked Job Mokgoro to take over as premier of the North West province from Supra Mahumapelo, who stepped down in May.

Mokgoro, a former director-general of the North West and ex-principal of South Africa’s National School of Government, is due to be sworn in by the provincial legislature on Friday. The ANC’s national working committee unanimously agreed to appoint him as premier at a meeting on Wednesday, Ace Magashule, the party’s secretary-general, told reporters in Johannesburg.

“We wanted somebody who could be supported by everybody,” he said on Thursday. “He is 70 years old, but he has the energy to go and stabilize the situation in the North West.”

Mahumapelo quit after violent protests erupted against his leadership in the region. While his exit from his government post has helped President Cyril Ramaphosa assert his authority over the province, he remains chairman of the ANC in the North West. Mahumapelo opposed Ramaphosa’s bid to win election as party leader in December and is a close ally of Jacob Zuma, who was forced to resign as president in February.

“Mokgoro’s appointment will strengthen Ramaphosa’s position in the ANC,” said Theo Venter, a political analyst at North-West University in Potchefstroom, west of Johannesburg. “He will have to break the political stronghold of Mahumapelo.”

Hawks Raid

Disgruntlement with the Mahumapelo’s leadership mounted over his handling of the graft allegations and the sidelining of his ANC rivals in the North West. A police investigative unit known as the Hawks said it raided his offices in March in connection with alleged maladministration, fraud and corruption amounting to about 160 million rand ($11.7 million). He denies any wrongdoing.

The ANC in the North West will unconditionally support the new premier, who is an excellent administrator and will ensure that the delivery of services improve, Mahumapelo told reporters.

Venter, who’s known Mokgoro for 30 years, said “he is in my view what the North West needs now -- a man that can coordinate and can bridge the gap to the next election in 2019.”

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