1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

South Africa takes control of North West province

May 13, 2018

South Africa's national government has taken over administrative control of the strife-torn North West province. Public anger over graft and poor public services erupted last month, leading to looting and police clashes.

A police officer looks on as protesters chant slogans during protests in Mahikeng, in the North West province, South Africa
Image: Reuters/S. Sibeko

South Africa's national government on Sunday took control of the country's troubled North West province.

The province has seen crowd protests over poor public services and widespread graft allegations in recent weeks. Public anger boiled over last month as protesters looted shops, burnt cars and clashed with police officials.

Read more: South Africa's president faces ANC rebellion

Protesters have also demanded the resignation of local government leader Supra Mahumapelo, a member of President Cyril Ramaphosa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) and close ally of scandal-plagued former President Jacob Zuma. Mahumapelo has so far refused to step down but has since gone on a leave of absence.

Ramaphosa cut short a visit to the Commonwealth summit in the UK to deal with the first major crisis of his young presidency.

First for South Africa

South Africa's National Council of Provinces (NCOP) said on a statement on Sunday that Ramaphosa had told his Cabinet that he had decided to invoke a constitutional clause allowing the central government to take control of North West.

"When a province cannot or does not fulfill an executive obligation in terms of the constitution or legislation, the national executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfillment," the NCOP said.

According to South Africa's Sunday Times Newspaper, the move marks the first time the national government has ever taken control of an entire provincial administration.

Authorities in the capital, Pretoria, had already placed the platinum-rich province's health and treasury departments under central control and deployed military medics to treat hospital patients.

Read more: Cape Town water crisis: adapting to a water-scarce future

South Africa's struggle with drought

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

dm/amp (AFP, Reuters)