South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet the top leadership of the country’s ruling party to decide on the future of the premier of the North West province after clashes broke out between protesters and police in the region.
Ramaphosa will consult the African National Congress’s so-called top-six leaders about Supra Mahumapelo, International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told reporters in London Friday.
The president cut short his participation in a Commonwealth leaders’ meeting in the city to return to South Africa to deal with the protests, his spokeswoman Khusela Diko said.
Demonstrators opposed to Mahumapelo and angry about a lack of service delivery set fire to buses and looted shops in the provincial capital Thursday, police said.
South Africa’s special police unit known as the Hawks said it raided Mahumapelo’s offices last month in connection with alleged maladministration, fraud and corruption amounting to about 160 million rand ($13 million).
Ramaphosa “called on all aggrieved parties to express their grievances through peaceful means and engagement rather than violence and anarchy,” Diko said in an emailed statement.
The president will also meet with provincial leaders of the ANC Friday, the party said in a separate statement. Mahumapelo is a supporter of Jacob Zuma, who Ramaphosa ousted as the nation’s president in February.
Ramaphosa has been meeting government officials and investors in London, where he unveiled his plan to attract $100 billion of investment to kick-start the economy. He has been working to convince investors that he’s committed to reversing years of economic stagnation, policy uncertainty and looting of state funds since succeeding Zuma as president two months ago.
There haven’t been fatalities linked with the protests, provincial police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone said by phone.
“We are requesting that the communities respect the rule of law and the people that are not participating in the protest,” he said. “They need not participate in actions that will lead to loss of life.” Police have arrested 23 people for looting, regional police said on their Twitter account.