KDF conference hopes to tackle burning issues

KDF chairperson Ndithini Tyhido talks to Vukani about the importance of the conference and the issues it hopes to deal with.

The Khayelitsha Development Forum’s (KDF) ability to fulfil its task of ensuring unity and sound leadership among the people of Khayelitsha will be put to the test at the forum’s elective conference in March.

Since its establishment 23 years ago, the forum has been instrumental in the development of Khayelitsha. However, it has recently been marred by allegations of corruption and that some members are taking money meant for developing the area.

As a result of these allegations, some political parties left the KDF.

While chairperson Ndithini Tyhido has refuted the claims, he admitted that they will be going to the conference prepared for hostility. And, he said, decisions emanating from the gathering who have consequences of historical magnitude.

“For congregating in those four walls will be the voice of reason, the voice of development, the voice of all political party maturity, the voice of democracy and peace. In fact, the real voice of the people,” he said.

“After a thorough and careful assessment of the situation, we felt the need to present an alternative to how they have been dealing with stakeholder representation in the executive committee of the KDF as a conduit for all developments in the area, and as a genuine disciplined forum in the hands of the people towards the attainment of a Khayelitsha future where residents will live, work and play… a Khayelitsha where the old shall care for the young and the young shall respect the old,” he said.

Mr Tyhido said the forum’s wish was to present to local leaders a proposal that each stakeholder proposes someone to be considered for election on to the executive committee of the KDF.

He said all the non-governmental organisations in Khayelitsha would be represented by three persons at the conference with the three sub-council chairpersons, local police station commanders, the chief magistrate or prosecutor and the heads of various government departments accorded ex-officio status in their relevant sectors.

All the councillors (ward and PR) are to be accorded the same status in their areas of deployment. While that should not be viewed as a perfect solution, it did place on each and every stakeholder, the responsibility to safeguard the unity of the KDF.

Mr Tyhido said his task was to present a report back to the stakeholders on the work done over the past three years.

He also paid a special tribute to three members who served the forum with respect and apologised to those who served the full term without fail, without knowing where their next meal was going to come from.

He also warned that: “At the conference we will detail every incident by date and (those responsible). We shall unmask the dangerous tendency that is hell-bent on subverting the KDF for their malicious and devious ends.”

Mr Tyhido urged fellow executive committee members to stop the “blamestorm” so that they could brainstorm on how to get out of the mess they found themselves in.

He said it has been a pleasure and torture to lead the forum, but the pleasure had been greater than the torture.

“I have learnt that the calls of the noisy minority cannot be ignored because they largely shape the opinions of the silent minority, whom we exploit for our selfish gains.

“I have learnt that not all those who criticised us, hated us. Sometimes the best way to express your love for someone is to be critical of their actions,” he said, calling for unity.

Former KDF chairperson Zamayedwa Sogayise warned that different factions would use the conference to push their own agenda, while the core responsibility of the forum was to help shape the future of Khayelitsha and unify churches, NGOs, political organisations and other organisations to develop the area.

He called on all those who have issues with the forum to fight them within its parameters. “Its character has been democratic.

“It will be a shame if people break away. I would encourage every organisation, be it church, political or an individual, to fight their battle within the forum for sustainable development.

“Even in our times there were problems, but through talks and conference they were resolved,” he said.

Mr Sogayise urged everyone to attend the conference and that they should work together for sustainable development.