Time is running out for embattled North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo after President Cyril Ramaphosa met with him on Thursday to communicate the ANC national working committee's (NWC's) verdict that he must resign or be recalled.
Two sources confirmed to News24 that Ramaphosa and other top six officials met with Mahumapelo on Thursday afternoon in Johannesburg in a bid to get him to resign.
This was on the back of an NWC meeting on Wednesday, where the majority of members said he should step down.
If Mahumapelo remains defiant and refuses to voluntarily step down, his fate will be decided by the party's national executive committee (NEC).
"The dominant view is that he must resign and I believe the officials will succeed in getting him to do so," one NWC insider told News24.
Another source said: "The officials had to tell Mahumapelo to resign or be recalled. We felt the allegations of corruption and malperformance of various departments was overwhelming."
It's understood that ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, his deputy Jessie Duarte and ANC Women's League secretary general Meokgo Matuba were some of those opposed to Mahumapelo's removal and that Magashule warning the NWC of the consequences of such a move.
"Ace told them this would be seen as purging those who did not support Cyril at [the national elective conference at] Nasrec. He said we now risk having a split in the ANC," said another NWC member.
He said the ANC Veteran's League president Snuki Zikalala insisted that Mahumapelo had to step down, reminding those at the meeting that it was the party's veterans who had delivered a report on the state of the North West, and called for the premier's removal long before violent protests broke out.
The Veteran's League delivered a damning report on the poor state of the ANC in the North West, highlighting claims of maladministration in the government.
Mahumapelo has consistently denied all allegations, denouncing the calls for him to go as attempts to block radical economic transformation.
Pressure has been mounting on the ANC provincial chairperson, with residents in the platinum-rich province taking to the streets to demand his removal.
The health department had also crumbled, as members of the National Health Education and Allied Workers Union had been on strike for at least two months before Cabinet placed the department under administration.
NWC members warned that more departments could be placed under administration in coming weeks.
Also in this year, specialised policing unit the Hawks raided the premier's office and are investigating several allegations against him and his government.
These include a mobile clinic contract awarded by the North West Department of Health to the Gupta-linked Mediosa and Mahumapelo's R1.5m cattle gift to former president Jacob Zuma.
The governing party released a statement following Wednesday night's meeting, confirming that officials would meet "immediately" with Mahumapelo to "discuss all available constructive options to resolve the ongoing impasse in the interest of the people of the North West province and the movement broadly".
In a move echoing Zuma's removal as president earlier this year, the EFF is putting pressure on the party to decide on Mahumapelo's future.
Leader Julius Malema instructed EFF MPLs in the North West legislature to abandon a court bid and to demand that a motion of no confidence in the premier take place urgently.
Zuma resigned on the eve of a similar motion in the National Assembly.