The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, AKA the Hawks, are investigating an alleged plot to kill embattled North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo – but not everyone is convinced his life is at risk.
The premier’s office opened a case of conspiracy to commit murder with the North West police after allegedly receiving a tipoff on Saturday that hitmen had been paid R250 000 to kill Mahumapelo.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed yesterday hat the docket had since been handed over to the unit.
Brian Setswambung, from Mahumapelo’s office, confirmed the premier received the news about the plot to assassinate him on Saturday.
However, political analyst Somadoda Fikeni smells a rat, saying the timing of the so-called murder plot conveniently coincided with the premier’s possibly imminent axing amid ongoing province-wide protests and calls for him to step down.
“There is a political function for claims of murder plots. They use them to divert attention from personal predicaments. Also, people who operate in a factional environment, where they rise through that faction … their thinking is always one minute away from suspecting everyone to be in a plot of some sort.
“The political function of saying there is a plot is normally used to convey that because you have an ideology you are supposedly fighting for, they are plotting against you. Basically, you are giving yourself blanket immunity,” Fikeni added.
“At the same time it’s plausible, given that the deputy minister of health was in a car accident that raised questions about plots, and the North West province at the moment is a very toxic environment and people may be taking advantage of that.”
This is not the first time Mahumapelo has claimed to be the target of an alleged assassination plot. He made a similar claim last year.
Setswambung said police would have to make a determination on whether the premier’s security needed beefing up, after his previous request for extra security to the South African Police Service was not heeded.
“That has already been done. Remember, this is not the first attempt on his life. There were two before and that person was prosecuted. So he had previously sent a request to the police.
SAPS spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo would not confirm or deny this. He said the police could not release details about an individual’s security.
“If we say that we declined it, then we are telling people he has no security; if we say we deny it, then we are telling you about our security operations.”
Meanwhile, police were monitoring Mahikeng and Potchefstroom, where violent protests were ongoing, primarily over issues in the health sector.
The situation appeared to have calmed down over the weekend after protesters disrupted services and burned tyres outside a public hospital in Potchefstroom on Friday.
Unconfirmed weekend reports suggested healthcare workers who returned to work were threatened with violence. North West SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said police were not aware of this.