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Bloemfontein - The African National Congress in the Northern Cape has rejected allegations that it is buying votes with blankets for the elderly.
“The DA is playing petty politics,” spokeswoman Keitumetse Mathiba said on Wednesday.
She was responding to a Democratic Alliance allegation that two senior citizens of Warrenvale at Warrenton were turned away from receiving blankets during a government “outreach” event.
Warrenton DA representative Jan Louw said the couple heard that blankets would be handed out to the elderly at the town hall last week. While in the queue, they apparently heard from ANC councillors that if they did not have ANC membership cards they would not get blankets. They left the queue because they were not ANC members, Louw said in a statement.
Mathiba said the event was an “outreach” by Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas. The elderly were also treated to tea and cake with the premier.
“The premier will not hand out blankets in order to win votes; as a caring person she initiated this as a response to the reality of very cold weather conditions.
“We respect our people too much to prey on their vulnerability by addressing their needs on the basis of political patronage.”
Referring to the councillors who allegedly said only ANC members should line up for blankets, Mathiba said they would not make such an order.
She said ANC public representatives understood their constitutional responsibility of serving all residents, irrespective of political affiliation.
Louw said it was not the first time ANC representatives had acted this way.
“People who apply to receive houses are treated in the same way. If they do not support the ANC, they do not get houses.”
He alleged this attitude also applied to lower water and electricity costs for the poor. Louw said opposition supporters were scared to wear party T-shirts because they would not be picked for working on government projects or other jobs. - Sapa