Ndithini Leon Tyhido was re-elected for a third term unopposed as the chairman of Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF), a fortnight ago.
Mr Tyhido ran against Mawande Jara, former Radio Zibonele FM chief executive officer (CEO), who was vying for the position but could not meet the threshold of votes to stand, making an easy victory for Mr Tyhido at the forum’s 10th conference, which was held at Cape Times Fresh Air Camp in Simons Town.
Mr Tyhido said in this term he wanted to entrench unity among all stakeholders in Khayelitsha.
He aims to create an environment that would enable Khayelitsha youth to create jobs for them to succeed.
He said Khayelitsha is currently sitting at R8 billion public investment with a number of developments in the pipeline while others are already under way. These projects include the bus depot, new mall and new police station in Makhaza.
However, he believes that the big question that should be answered is how all these developments are going to impact on job creation opportunities.
It is therefore important that KDF plays a critical role in ensuring that the youth of Khayelitsha are employed on these projects.
The key role of KDF is to accelerate progress and create an environment for investors in Khayelitsha.
“”KDF strives on its unique character of pulling together differently. There is no debate when we say that there is a drainage problem in Khayelitsha and it does matter which political party you belong to.
“I do not believe that those people who contested had the intention of helping Khayelitsha be a better place but we are of the view that people contested me as the person and chair of KDF.
“I believe that when Khayelitsha is safe then it is develop-able. Our relationship with all spheres of government is both complementary and contradictory. When they do good we therefore support them but when they do bad we speak against them.
“Most of the time we are at loggerheads with the local government and that is the CIty of Cape Town because some of the main issues we raised are meant to be dealt with at municipal levels. And we feel that the City does not really care about township,” he said.
He believes that KDF is tasked with the biggest job of uniting the people of Khayelitsha from different political affiliations and groupings.
He said that at all times KDF must achieve a multi-stakeholder character because if the forum loses that, there would be no need for KDF.
Talking about some of his top achievements at the helm of KDF, Mr Tyhido said when he was first elected in 2015, there were times where some of the stakeholders wanted to break away from the KDF.
In fact, he said they broke away and established a parallel structure but they managed to persuade them to come back to KDF.
At that time there was a commission into policing in Khayelitsha where reports were suggesting that the relationship between SAPS and Khayelitsha was irreparable. But through their intensive work that relationship is good and in the interest of making Khayelitsha a safe space.
Another issue that KDF faces, he said, is the temptation from his colleagues and other members who want to convert KDF into a single political platform.
He said his training in the ANC tells him how he behaves in KDF; he can project a better ANC instead of wanting to sneak around and make KDF an ANC substructure which it is not.
He said as the chair he must distinguish between Ndithini who is an ANC member in an ANC function compared to Ndithini who is leading the KDF.
In his second term, he said during the Covid-19 pandemic, 22 new informal settlements were established in Khayelitsha while the area was in the middle of development plans. He said extortion-related crimes escalated in this time.
However, the KDF had a team, led by former provincial speaker, Masizole Mnqasela and member of the national assembly Richard Dyantyi, which was tasked with fighting Covid-19 in Khayelitsha.
He said KDF took the brave decision of confronting head on the battle against protection fee rackets even though they can’t say they won or lost that battle but they did raise their voice sharply.
‘’To be honest I did not want to come back and contest again but we could not watch people derail the work we have done in making this forum what it is today. KDF is a very strong brand currently even though it does not own any assets but it owns itself. We could not allow people to use this platform to hide their own shenanigans. I had to come in now just to protect the gains made by my previous leaders.
“For me it is not really about terms because I was hoping that I could still contribute in helping Khayelitsha to become a better community via other platforms.
“However, my aim in this term is to advance the development of Khayelitsha in the best interest of the people of Khayelitsha. In me I really have love for the people I lead.
“We have been given a mandate to lead Khayelitsha and ensure that we lead it selflessly and honestly,” he said.
Asked to describe himself, he said: “I’m found in spaces where a young girl has been nominated to represent the country. I’m found in spaces where a disabled child needs a wheelchair. Our task is to create an environment to excel in what people do,” he said.
Mr Tyhido has held various leadership positions such as leading Khayelitsha Youth Development council, serving as an executive member of KDF before and currently serves as a convener of Cape Metro Development Council and a trustee at Khayelitsha Community Trust.