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Dlamini denies 'buying' votes

The minister will cooperate with the public protector’s probe into the Tlokwe by-elections.

Social Development Department Minister Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Minister Bathabile Dlamini will cooperate with an investigation by the public protector into the distribution of food parcels in Tlokwe ahead of crucial by-elections, the Social Development Department said on Tuesday.

She handed out the parcels in the North West municipality just days before the vote.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) accused Dlamini of trying to buy votes.

During last week's vote, the ANC retained control of two wards, but lost a ward to an independent candidate.

By-elections were postponed in in several wards after allegations emerged against an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) official.

The IEC worker was suspended.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela agreed to investigate following a request from the DA.

The department's Lumka Oliphant says Dlamini's visit had nothing to do with the by-elections.

"North West is number two in terms of food and security and it is number one in terms of child malnutrition. The minister has also said in Parliament it is an insult to our people to say they can be bought with food."