Tlokwe showdown

2013-08-06 22:18
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Tlokwe by-election set for Wednesday is already seeing political parties throwing punches even before residents have had the chance to cast their votes.

The Democratic Alliance on Tuesday accused the ANC of desperate campaigning.

"More than 400 [food] parcels will be pumped into Tlokwe Ward 9 today [Tuesday] on the instruction of Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, less than 24 hours before voting is due to start in the ward," DA North West leader Chris Hattingh said.

Hattingh is fuming over the minister's decision to assist child-headed families and the poor in the area. Dlamini's office last week said they would roll out a number of social relief interventions in Tlokwe.

According to her office, Dlamini heard during her meeting with the leadership of the North West government that over 19 000 children suffered from malnutrition in Tlokwe.

It was also revealed that there were about 17 000 child-headed households in Tlokwe, most of which did not receive social assistance because they had not been reported to the social development department.

Hattingh said this was abuse of state resources and government officials by the ANC in their desperate campaigning.

"The minister is trying to justify blowing public money on the ANC’s campaign by calling it a poverty relief intervention. This is indicative of the levels to which the ANC will stoop in their abuse of state resources for political gain," said Hattingh.

During the DA’s campaign, it had became clear that even the poorest of the poor in Ward 9 had seen through the electioneering stunt.

The DA would submit formal questions to Dlamini about the irrational and election-driven abuse of food parcels, he said.

Parcels since 2009

ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi defended Dlamini's actions and said government services could not be stopped due to by-elections that were to take place.

"Our people can't go hungry because of by-elections," he said.

Mnisi added that such relief and help for communities was not a new thing.

"It is not an electioneering thing, government has been handing out food parcels since 2009. It did not start yesterday," he said.

The by-election came as result of the unseating of ANC mayor Maphetle Maphetle.

He has been unseated twice when ANC councillors voted with the opposition to replace him with the DA's Annette Combrink, first in November, and again last month.

The ANC's North West provincial disciplinary committee expelled the 14 councillors concerned, resulting in them losing their seats.

By-elections will be held in Ward Nine in Tlokwe and in another eight wards in the province.

The Tlokwe ward will be contested by the ANC, the DA, the Congress of the People (Cope), the African People's Convention, and an independent candidate.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  annette combrink  |  bathabile dlamini  |  mahikeng  |  politics  |  tlokwe leadership battle

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