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Didiza being "parachuted" in. Source: Twitter @Our_DA.

As the clouds over Tshwane’s townships gather or disperse on Wednesday after unrest broke out, lots of questions remain about how the African National Congress is going to resolve the issue of the mayoral candidate that brought on the protests. But who is Thoko Didiza and why did the ANC “parachute” her in to try save the metro?

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Didiza being “parachuted” in. Source: Twitter @Our_DA.
  1. Didiza was a minister of public works under president Thabo Mbeki but resigned when he was fired. She led the Thabo Mbeki Foundation until she was appointed an MP in 2014.
  2. Gauteng province and its metros are notoriously divided, allegedly between pro- and anti-Zuma factions. (Joburg’s mayor Parks Tau is said to be in the anti-Zuma faction.)
  3. The ANC fared poorly in Tshwane in the last municipal elections, and it is one of several metros identified that the ANC could likely lose in the 3 August election. It would be a major blow to the ANC if it lost the capital city.
  4. The ANC reportedly was looking for someone who could pull the ANC’s factions in Tshwane together.
  5. Three original candidates were Mapiti Matsena (apparently a “fierce rival” of the present mayor and deputy ANC chair in the Tshwane regions), Karin Littler and Susan Ngobeni. (Little information is available on either woman.)
  6. The ANC did not think any of them had what it takes to stop Tshwane from falling to another party.
  7. Didiza’s name, as well as that of deputy health minister Gwen Ramokgopa, had come up earlier.
  8. Protesters have reportedly said that Didiza is from KwaZulu-Natal and an outsider – even though she lives in Tshwane – and they want the incumbent Kgosientso ‘Sputla” Ramokgopa to be the candidate.
  9. in 2009, Didiza was elected an executive member of her local branch in Ward 91 in Pretoria East, a position she has held ever since.
  10. As the sometime chair in parliament, who takes over from the divisive Baleka Mbeta – who is often accused of favouring the president and the ANC – Didiza has, according to one commentator, “shown herself to be more nonpartisan than any of her ANC peers”. (Watch below as Didiza handles the incident in parliament last year when Mzwandile Masina, now mayoral candidate for Ekurhuleni, allegedly told the DA’s chief whip “I will f**k you up”.)