ActionSA announces Kgoshi Phaahla as its Limpopo premier candidate

Provincial chair Sello Lediga told party he was unavailable for the position

21 November 2023 - 17:11
By Kgothatso Madisa
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba shakes hands with the party's premier candidate for Limpopo, Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla.
Image: ActionSA ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba shakes hands with the party's premier candidate for Limpopo, Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla.

ActionSA on Tuesday announced Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla as its premier candidate for Limpopo after its provincial chairperson Sello Lediga told them he was unavailable.

TimesLIVE understands Lediga told party leader Herman Mashaba he wants fewer responsibilities in the party. Lediga was until recently expected to be announced as premier candidate as per the ActionSA tradition that provincial chairpersons are its candidates.

The party announced as their premier candidates Zwakele Mncwango for KwaZulu-Natal, Kgosi Kwena Mangope for North West and Andrew Louw for the Northern Cape. They all serve as provincial leaders.

Lediga is said to have turned down the premier candidacy as he wants to focus on his academics and writing career. He told TimesLIVE he will remain provincial chairperson at least until the elections next year.

“When they asked me to lead this province, I was a bit reluctant because I wanted to focus on my writing and academic career, but Mashaba prevailed on me to take up the position. I told them I may not last long,” said Lediga.

He told TimesLIVE he recently published his third book, titled Dodging the Civil War Bullet, about the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy.

“My book was launched at Constitution Hill last month, and after that I realised I should begin to cultivate a persona of a writer and an academic rather than a high-profile politician. I’ve been engaging them, they know. I told them I don’t want more responsibilities and given a chance I would want to focus on writing and academia rather than politics,” he said.

Lediga said he did not resign as the provincial chair but did not explain how he would run Limpopo from a different province. This publication understands he will be moving back to Gauteng after having spent 42 years in Limpopo under the ANC.

“Essentially I would like to focus on that though I committed to this up to the elections. I would not really want to carry more responsibilities because I think I’m not going to have a long political career. I have asked them to let me remain a chairperson until elections and that may be my end to help,” he said.

ActionSA chair Michael Beaumont confirmed the party was having discussions with Lediga about his future but said it would be inappropriate to divulge details of the talks.

“The chairperson of Limpopo has not resigned and the party continues to hold confidence in his leadership of the province. The provincial chairperson has been in an ongoing conversation with national leadership to reduce his responsibilities in the party in pursuit of advancing his academic and writing career. This was, by way of example, the reason why the provincial chairperson communicated his unavailability to be considered for the role of premier candidate announced today,” said Beaumont.

Phaahla thanked ActionSA for entrusting him with the role of leading the party’s election campaign in the province.

“I would like to thank you for the trust you have in me in leading the campaign in Limpopo. And equally so very hopeful that whatever throughput to be comprehended during my tenure at the helm of this campaign shall usher in the new epoch in advancement of ActionSA’s non-negotiable call to fix this country,” he said.

“And present an unconstrained hope in representing those in the periphery of a sprouting national discourse under the ANC rule and organisation that is full of feeble personalities, deficient in insight and political vision and lacking foresight in leading this country to its desired and God-ordained destination.”