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Johannesburg - The Public Protector has confirmed receiving a complaint from the DA about Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini handing out food parcels in Tlokwe.
“The complaint was received on Wednesday, September 18,” spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi said on Friday.
The Democratic Alliance has accused the minister of trying to buy votes ahead of Wednesday's municipal by-election in Tlokwe, North West, by dishing out food parcels.
Her visit came a few days before a by-election in Tlokwe's (Potchefstroom) Ward Nine. At the time, Dlamini denied this was the reason for the relief efforts and said there were more than 17 000 child-headed households in Tlokwe.
On September 13, the DA said it had written to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela asking her to investigate Dlamini's distribution of food parcels.
“The minister's conduct is at the very least unethical and a violation of the executive ethics code of conduct,” DA MP Mike Waters said at the time.
“The distribution of food parcels just before nine by-elections can only be construed as the dishonest use of public office to further a party-political agenda.”
However, government said Dlamini's visit was part of a service delivery improvement initiative aimed at improving access to the department and its entities.
By-elections were held on Wednesday in Tlokwe in Wards One, Four, Six, 11, 12, 13, 18, 20 and 26.
Tlokwe's ANC mayor Maphetle Maphetle was unseated twice when African National Congress councillors voted to replace him with DA councillor Annette Combrink.
The ANC's North West provincial disciplinary committee expelled the 14 councillors concerned, resulting in them losing their seats. Their expulsion was however overturned by the ANC's national disciplinary committee.
The ANC won seven of the 11 municipal by-elections, according to results released by the Independent Electoral Commission.
The DA retained three wards, and an independent candidate took the highly contested Ward 26 from the ruling party.