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Food parcels must not be given out at political rallies - Madonsela

2016-04-12 15:19
(Ahmed Areff, News24)

Pretoria - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has spoken out against the practice of distributing food parcels during political rallies, merely to score points with voters. 

"I have a big concern about food parcels. We will be releasing a report... on food parcels," she said at Unisa's 2016 Youth Research Conference on Tuesday. 

"They are not supposed to be given at a political rally because only people of a particular political persuasion will come. If food parcels have to be given to alleviate poverty, they have to be given in an apolitical way, and [must not be]... linked to any day of elections."

In 2014, Madonsela's office confirmed it received complaints against the ANC for using state resources during its election campaign.

"The Public Protector received three complaints - one from the DA and two from Agang SA," her spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said at the time. 

"The DA complaint relates to the by-election in Tlokwe last year [2013]. The party alleges that food parcels were used in the ANC campaign ahead of the by-election," he said.

"Agang SA's complaint relates to allegations that food parcels were used in the ANC campaign in the Western Cape and that the Gauteng provincial government used ANC-related colours on its billboard."

Two weeks ago, the Constitutional Court found that President Jacob Zuma failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Madonsela's remedial action regarding payments for the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

The payments were made from taxpayers' money. 

Madonsela said on Tuesday that the office of the Public Protector was there to be a "partner" for the people of South Africa, to ensure that government played its part in delivering the "Constitutional promise" to the people. 

"It all boils down to a proper use of state power and state resources... The resources that are in the hands of government belongs to the people - they don't belong to government, they don't belong to any party that is in government at any time.

"They have to be used in accordance with the law and in accordance with the Constitution." 

She said it was often thought that government was doing people a favour when it delivered basic services. 

"That if you don't vote a particular party, you will not get your basic services. That is wrong. There should be no prioritisation in who gets RDP housing or who gets their informal settlement given water and electricity based on voting," Madonsela said. 

"You are entitled to these rights because you are a human being... Whether you vote for a party or you don't vote for a party, you have a right to hold it accountable, you have a right to make sure there is fairness in the distribution of resources, whatever those resources are."

She said the "Constitutional promise" was for the free potential and improved quality of life for everyone in country.

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Read more on: da  |  anc  |  agang sa  |  thuli madonsela  |  local elections 2016  |  politics  |  service delivery

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