Eight things to know about Thoko Didiza‚ ANC mayoral hopeful in Tshwane

1. June is her lucky month: Thoko Didiza was born in June 17 in Durban. She took the position of Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs in June 1999. She was also appointed as Minister of Public Works in June of 2006. It is also in June of 2016 that the ANC has named Didiza as its mayoral candidate for the City of Tshwane.

2. She became a deputy minister at 29: Didiza was just 29-years-old when she became deputy minister of agriculture in 1994. A close confidante of former president Thabo Mbeki‚ Didiza’s meteoric rise surprised many as she did not have the “usual” political credentials. After the 1999 elections‚ Mbeki elevated her to minister of agriculture.

READ THIS: NEWS ANALYSIS: Tshwane candidate a pickle for ANC

3. She did not look for a job after Mbeki was recalled: After leaving Cabinet in September 2008 following Mbeki’s recall‚ Didiza said she was in no hurry to find a new job and spent the time with her husband Thami and her five children in the home they had built in Pretoria.

4. She introduced the Expropriation Bill: Didiza introduced the Expropriation Bill in 2008‚ following a Cabinet decision on land the previous year. The bill sought to allow the government to take land “in the public interest” when negotiations with property owners failed.

5. She was warned about Land Bank fall: In 2008‚ a forensic report by auditors Deloitte detailed financial irregularities in the management of the Land Bank. Former finance minister Trevor Manuel wrote to Didiza‚ then Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister‚ to express his concern about the situation. Manuel warned Didiza about the implications of the Land Bank’s reckless dealings‚ but under her watch the bank embarked on dodgy loans.


6. She is an advocate of women’s empowerment: In 2007‚ Didiza joined other female Cabinet ministers in a march for gender equity in Pretoria. She was joined by Local Government Deputy Minister Nomatyala Hangana‚ Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica‚ Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana‚ Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi and Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri. It was organised to support the government’s 16 days of non-violence against women and children campaign and to demand an equal gender quota in “all spheres of life”.

7. She holds MPs to order: In 2015‚ while chairing Parliament‚ EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi repeatedly said his party would not be “monitored by white boys”‚ in reference to the DA. Didiza ordered the Sergeant at Arms to remove him from the Chamber after he refused to withdraw his statement.

8. She spent years working for Christian organisations: After obtaining diplomas in personnel management and training‚ journalism and business‚ Didiza started working as a legal secretary‚ and then joined the Diakonia Ecumenical Church Agency in Durban in 1985. She started out as a secretary and went on to play a major role in this and other church and social work organisations. She worked as co-ordinator and national deputy secretary-general of the South African Council of World Affiliated Young Women’s Christian Association (1993-1994).



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