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A new sheriff in town, says Ndithini Tyhido, leader of what was once the ANC’s flagship region in the Western Cape

A new sheriff in town, says Ndithini Tyhido, leader of what was once the ANC’s flagship region in the Western Cape
Newly elected ANC chairperson in the Dullah Omar region in the Western Cape, Ndithini Tyhido. (Photo: Velani Ludidi)

It was a clean sweep for the Khayelitsha Development Forum’s Ndithini Tyhido and his slate in elections for new leadership of the Dullah Omar (City of Cape Town) region, the ANC’s biggest in the Western Cape. Now the new leader vows to grow the party’s share of the votes in the province and keep the DA below 50%.

After turbulent years of electoral decline and being disbanded twice in five years, the ANC’s biggest region in the Western Cape, the Dullah Omar region, which covers the City of Cape Town, finally elected a new leadership on Sunday, 20 August.

The party held its regional conference in Cape Town over the weekend under the theme “rebuild and renew the people’s movement for a better life for all”. 

It was the only region in the province yet to hold a conference after the Southern Cape region, which covers the Garden Route, Knysna and George, managed to convene this year.

anc dullah omar western cape

The newly elected regional executive committee of the ANC in the Dullah Omar (Metro) Region. From left: Chairperson Ndithini Tyhido, Deputy Chairperson Sonwabile Ngxiza, Secretary Mvusi Mdala, Deputy Secretary Mareldia Chouglay and Treasurer Lynn Abrahams. (Photo: Velani Ludidi)

The region – named after Abdullah Mohamed Omar, the late anti-apartheid activist, lawyer and democratic South Africa’s first justice minister – is the ANC’s largest in the Western Cape in terms of membership and population, but has been in decline in recent years.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC’s biggest region in Western Cape to plot its comeback at weekend conference

Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido was elected as chairperson after getting 162 votes compared to the 125 received by his opponent Tshepo Moletsane. 

The party’s first female chief whip in the Western Cape provincial legislature, Pat Lekker, lost to Sonwabile Ngxiza for the deputy chairperson position. 

Mvusi Mvala was elected secretary, Mareldia Chouglay was elected deputy secretary, and Lynn Abrahams completed Tyhido’s clean sweep when she was elected as treasurer.

The new leadership faces the monumental challenge of uniting the party in the metro, convincing the electorate to give it another chance and rebuilding active branches that have been dismantled by infighting.

The region’s misfortunes show in its waning support among voters – with the ANC dropping from almost 40% in 2000 to 18% in the 2021 local elections.

While everyone speaks of unity, tensions in the party were evident when provincial secretary Neville Delport told delegates that whoever was elected had to remember that the Dullah Omar region was not bigger than the provincial leadership.

“No matter what the outcome of the contest of leadership, no matter which side of the conference you are on, we must be able to unite under the new leadership elected by delegates,” Delport said.

“This is important because two-thirds of the people in the Western Cape live in the metro. This region is the most strategic in this province.”

Newly elected chairperson Tyhido said he was aware of the party’s challenges and admitted that the ANC had opened itself up to all sorts of malfeasance. He downplayed rumours of a rift with the provincial leadership, saying the region was supported by the upper structure.

Talking about the party, he said the ANC needed introspection.

“We talk (about) unity, but we conduct ourselves differently,” he said. “We lie to ourselves, we lie to the public, we steal, we cover things up, we use language that is very much distant from the real challenges facing communities.” 

He said part of the task of the newly elected leadership was to look at what the ANC branches existed for and to deal with the use of money to influence delegates and some ANC members.

“I do not believe that we have all the wisdom and answers to what is affecting the ANC at the current moment in the Dullah Omar region. Here in Cape Town the biggest elephant in the room where Cape Town is the epicentre of counter-revolutionaries who try for the Western Cape not to succeed and this has been downplayed.”

Tyhido’s comments echo those of former Western Cape provincial convenor Lerumo Kalako, who, when delivering a political report during the party’s provincial conference in June, said factionalism in the party was sponsored and funded by national leaders to serve their own interests. 

Talking about the DA, which runs the metro, Tyhido said there was a new sheriff in town. The newly elected leadership declared its aim to keep the DA below 50% in the 2024 provincial and national elections. DM

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