'ANC won't abuse state resources to buy votes'
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told MPs that the ANC doesn’t need to buy votes with food parcels.
CAPE TOWN - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been pressed by opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) for assurances that the African National Congress (ANC) won't abuse state resources to draw votes.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that food parcels were distributed by South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) officials at an ANC event ahead of the 2009 general elections, in a way that contravened the Constitution.
Ramaphosa, who was answering MPs' questions in the National Assembly yesterday, said Sassa officials had been given strict instructions on how to disperse relief to those who needed it.
He said social assistance was used by the government to fight poverty.
Ramaphosa told MPs that the ANC didn't need to buy votes with food parcels.
"The ANC has enough experience, has the right policies and has enough capability to convince people to vote for them."
The United Democratic Movement (UDM)'s Nqabayomzi Kwankwa wanted to know what was being done to ensure public employment programmes weren't used to prop up the governing party's campaign, "In an effort to try and show people that you're creating jobs now that the elections are around the corner."
Ramaphosa responded by saying the government would closely monitor the Expanded Public Works Programme's roll-out.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Liezl van der Merwe told Ramaphosa that Sassa officials and ANC representatives were seen distributing food parcels before a by-election.
"The IFP witnessed how ANC and Sassa officials, just a day before a by-election, brought in trucks of food parcels. We have the photos."
Van der Merwe said this was not an isolated incident.
"Now at almost every by-election you will find the same situation. I think then one can't advance the argument that the parcels are distributed on a needs basis."
Ramaphosa said the government believed that state resources should not be used to promote party political interests.
"State resources are for all South Africans, for all the people who live in our country, and therefore I don't believe the coming elections will be jeopardised in any way."