Johannesburg – The ANC in North West is battling to find a seat in the provincial legislature for its premier-elect, Bushy Maape, because outgoing premier Job Mokgoro has chosen to retain his seat.
Mokgoro’s decision has placed the ANC in a conundrum, because they will have to look for one of its other 20 members to volunteer to step down and allow Maape to become a member of the legislature and possibly premier.
Mokgoro announced his decision to resign as premier on Thursday following his meeting with the top leadership of the ANC, but he chose to keep his seat in the legislature, which means there is no vacancy to accommodate Maape, who was announced as Mokgoro’s replacement last week.
Yesterday, the office of Speaker Suzan Dantjie confirmed that Mokgoro resigned his premiership only, and the provincial legislature, in the presence of Mokgoro, will now have to appoint a premier among the 21 members of the ANC in the North West legislature.
Mokgoro announced his resignation as premier in what is believed was exclusively arranged for electronic media, particularly TV, as those responsible for communication in his office were caught off-guard.
According to them, the brief press conference was seemingly organised outside the legislature.
Despite the controversy over his resignation, Mokgoro announced that he took the decision to resign voluntarily, adding he could have opted to resist his move, but did so in the interest of the people of North West.
“I could have taken a popular stance, but chose a road less travelled,” he said.
He thanked communities in the province for supporting him since he took over as premier three years ago.
“The approach would not have arisen if it was not for the ANC,” he said.
Mokgoro also thanked Daantjie for constantly reminding him that he had a responsibility to serve the people of North West.
He also paid tribute to the North West’s traditional leaders, business community, churches and other organisations that had backed him throughout his tenure.
In his resignation, Mokgoro did not clarify whether he would also resign as a member of the legislature, but said he would not take up a new role.
“May God save the North West. May God save the people of the North West. I thank you,” he said, in what appeared to have been a difficult decision to make.
He wished Maape well.
Maape was announced as premier-elect on Tuesday last week while Mokgoro was still at the helm — a sign of deep divisions between him and the provincial ANC.
Asked to comment on the controversy, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte confirmed that Mokgoro had elected to remain a member of the legislature.
“The matter will be resolved on September 15. They’ve already elected an interim premier,” Duarte said.
Dantjie’s spokesperson, Tebogo Chaane, said they were now waiting on the ANC as the governing body to determine the way forward on the acting premier.
“We understand that the executive council met. They will guide us on the acting premier, who will preside until a new premier is sworn in,” said Chaane.