Thoko's Tshwane turmoil

By Drum Digital
03 July 2016

Thoko Didiza is ready to fight for Tshwane regardless of the backlash her candidacy has caused

By Sabelo Ndlangisa

Her announcement as an ANC mayoral candidate has been her first baptism of fire.

But she’s adamant she’ll stay and fight to keep her party in power, despite the controversy her appointment has generated.

ANC MP Thoko Didiza (51) finds herself in the unenviable position of having to lead the party’s election campaign in Tshwane, where the party has been marred by divisions and jostling for power for a few years now.

The mother-of-five and former Cabinet minister, whose home is in the eastern Pretoria suburb of Garsfontein, denies that her nomination by Gauteng party bosses ahead of some of the capital’s warring political leaders is a “poisoned chalice”.

The nomination has left in its wake widespread looting, arson and the loss of five lives. “Whichever way you could have gone in terms of this deployment, the likelihood is that you would have had aggrieved parties on one side or the other,” Didiza says.

“The ANC said it’s not about Thoko and, personally, I think it’s not about me.” Even though the rival Democratic Alliance (DA) has described the Durbanborn politician as an “outsider” to Tshwane, she has lived in the metro for the past 20 years and has been an active branch member in her ward.

While some reckon her background and ethnicity are to blame for her rejection by local ANC supporters, others believe this is just a smokescreen.

They say political patronage and business interests are at the centre of the conflict.

Read more in 7 July issue of DRUM

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