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Potchefstroom - About 1000 people in Tlokwe were given the title deeds to their homes on Tuesday, on the eve of crucial municipal by-elections, but any link was flatly denied.
The human settlements department denied that the handing-over ceremony had anything to do with electioneering.
“This is part of MEC Nono Maloyi's ongoing project which started (in 2010) to deliver services,” spokesman Ben Bole said.
He said with or without elections, service delivery efforts would continue.
Another 50 people were given houses during the event, which was held next to the Ipeleng Community Library voting station. Children queued for the free food being handed out.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini recently came under fire for handing out food parcels ahead of by-elections in Tlokwe. She was accused of using her ministerial position to garner votes for the African National Congress.
Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane described what the ANC was doing as appalling.
“The ANC seems to think that people should only eat and get houses every five years. The mandate should be such that we provide for the poor every day,” he said.
Bole said the handover had been planned long before the IEC decided on a date for the elections.
The houses were completed last December, and Tuesday was just the issuing of the title deeds.
“The MEC is very consistent in saying going forward immediately after houses are completed we need to issue a title deed,” he said.
Bole said the government should be applauded for the manner in which it handed out houses quickly, unlike the apartheid government.