May 9, 2018 / 6:16 AM / 10 months ago

Embattled South African provincial premier denies reports he has quit

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

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The premier of South Africa’s North West province Supra Mahumapelo denied media reports on Wednesday that he had stepped down in the face of mounting political and public pressure including violent protests against him last month.

Asked directly by reporters if he had resigned, Mahumapelo said in televised remarks that he was waiting to hear from the executive committee of the ruling African National Congress.

“I will listen to what the PEC (Provincial Executive Committee) say ... Let’s wait and see,” he said as a boisterous crowd of ANC supporters shouted and chanted nearby.

Acting North West provincial secretary Susan Dantjie told journalists after a PEC meeting that Mahumapelo has been instructed to go on leave pending an investigation into governance issues in the province.

“The PEC resolved that Comrade Supra Mahumapelo must take leave and allow the inter-ministerial task team to proceed with the processes and in the meantime must appoint an acting premier,” she said.

Mahumapelo is a political ally of scandal-plagued former president Jacob Zuma, replaced in February by Cyril Ramaphosa, who has vowed to clean up governance in Africa’s most industrialized economy.

Last month Ramaphosa cut short a visit to a Commonwealth summit in Britain to travel to North West and calm tensions after crowds began protesting against poor public services and demanding Mahumapelo’s resignation.

Ramaphosa placed the platinum-rich province’s health and treasury departments under central government control and deployed army medics to treat hospital patients.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard and Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Ed Cropley and Catherine Evans

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