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Tlokwe food distribution investigated

Thuli Madonsela will investigate if food parcels were distributed to buy votes during Tlokwe's by-elections.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says her office has no choice but to investigate allegations against Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini because of the mechanism used to lay the complaint.

The Democratic Alliance has accused Dlamini of trying to buy votes by handing out food parcels in the Tlokwe Municipality in the North West Province ahead of crucial by-elections held there last week.

Madonsela says she'll be investigating whether Dlamini violated the Executive Members' Ethics Act.

"Unfortunately despite the fact that our workload is brimming, we have to investigate because of the nature of the Executive Members' Ethics Act."

Meanwhile, Dlamini has denied the allegations and says the purpose of her visit was to bring relief to the thousands of child-headed households in the province.

On Tuesday, the Social Development Department said Dlamini will cooperate fully with the investigation.

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

"The 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 that it is an insult to our people to say they can be bought with food."

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 several wards after allegations emerged against an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) official.

The IEC worker has since been suspended.

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