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New Limpopo Premier sworn in

The ANC says they hope Stanley Mathabatha will restore dignity to the province.

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale has been replaced by former SA ambassador to Ukraine Stanley Mathabatha. Mathale announced his resignation on 15 July after a controversial spell as Premier. Picture:EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's former ambassador to Ukraine Stanley Mathabatha has been appointed as the new Premier of Limpopo.

He was sworn in on Thursday during a special meeting of the provincial legislature.

Mathabatha replaces Cassel Mathale who officially resigned from his post on Monday after a controversial spell as Premier.

Mathale said his resignation was in line with an announcement made by the African National Congress (ANC) to recall him.

The ANC's Khusela Sangoni-Khawe says the party hopes Mathabatha will restore the province's integrity.

"We have confidence he will restore the integrity of the provincial government of Limpopo and we expect him to deal with the challenges of deficiency and witnesses in the provincial government."

In contrast, the ANC said earlier this week that Mathale left behind a "prosperous, thriving and stable" province.

Five of Limpopo's departments are under national government administration while allegations of corruption and the aftermath of the textbook crisis continue to haunt the province.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe confirmed earlier this week that Mathale will be redeployed to the National Assembly.

POLITICAL CASUALTIES

The chairman of the ANC's provincial task team Philemon Mdaka said earlier this week that a new Premier may bring in new MECs which means there may still be more political casualties.

The future of at least two other Premiers is also reportedly being questioned.

There is widespread speculation that Mathale was the latest victim of President Jacob Zuma's political axe which swung into action last week during the latest cabinet reshuffle.

Mathale was a staunch supporter of expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema who has now launched his own political movement, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

MATHALE'S EXIT WELCOMED

Opposition parties and unions have said Mathale's resignation is long overdue.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Limpopo said on Thursday that Mathale left Limpopo in dire straits.

Costatu's Provincial secretary Dan Sibabi says he's not happy with the ruling party's decision to redeploy Mathale to parliament.

"Let's hope the ANC propels the revolution forward and reviews the decision because morally, it's not a good decision at all."

The Congress of the People (Cope) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo believe Mathale should have been removed sooner.

The DA's Limpopo spokesperson Langa Bodlani said, "He should have been shown the door a long time ago".

"Under him this province was literally in paralysis. We are glad that this has now happened."

Cope's Motlatjo Thetjeng believes the president was behind the recall.

"The president of this country, Mr Jacob Zuma, has gone all out to purge his opponents."

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