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South African Provincial Premier Steps Down After Anti-Graft Protests


FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, left, chats with Premier of North West Province Supra Mahumapelo in Ventersdorp, South Africa, June 16, 2017.

South Africa's leader of the North West province, Supra Mahumapelo, said Wednesday he will go on early retirement after weeks of protests against his leadership.

The protests over corruption and poor public services were some of the first signs of public discord since President Cyril Ramaphosa succeeded scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma in February.

Earlier this month, South Africa's national government took over the running of the troubled province in an effort to restore calm.

"I think it will be better for one to go on early retirement," Mahumapelo told a news conference at the headquarters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in downtown Johannesburg.

Mahumapelo, a Zuma loyalist and senior figure within the ANC, said he had taken the decision to step down to dispel fears that he could seek to influence investigations into mismanagement in the North West.

Ramaphosa has staked his reputation on rooting out the corruption associated with Zuma's nine years in power.

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