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F 2nd: South Africa province taken under regional control

SOUTH Africa’s national government acted to take control of the country’s troubled North West province on Sunday with public anger over corruption leading to violent clashes.

Protesters called for the resignation of the province’s leader Supra Mahumapelo with large demonstrations demanding jobs, housing, and an end to corruption.

He is accused of the misuse of state funds, which he denies, with questions raised over his relationship with the controversial Gupta family who have been accused of buying political influence in South Africa.

Mr Mahumapelo is a close ally of South Africa’s disgraced former leader Jacob Zuma who was forced to step down after a string of high-profile corruption allegations. 

A no-confidence vote in his leadership was withdrawn last month yet Mr Mahumapelo has so far refused to resign and is currently on a leave of absence.

The crisis has escalated over the past month with anger spilling over into looting, burning of cars and violent clashes with police. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short a visit to the Commonwealth summit in London in April to deal with the situation.

He acted on Sunday to take control of the region, the first time a South African province has been taken into administrative control.

Pretoria had already placed the province’s health and treasury authorities under central government control with military medics deployed to treat patients in the region’s hospitals.

A statement from the National Council of Provinces said: "When a province cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the constitution or legislation, the national executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfilment.”

Mr Ramaphosa has promised to end the corruption that has plagued all levels of South African society, including an ongoing investigation into former leader Mr Zuma.

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