ANC defends criticism of Madonsela

ANCYL president Bathabile Dlamini. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

ANCYL president Bathabile Dlamini. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The ANC has defended its women’s league president, Bathabile Dlamini, after she publicly attacked public protector Thuli Madonsela for her report that found it was wrong for politicians to use public-funded food parcels to win votes.

Dlamini, who is also the social development minister, last week came out guns blazing, accusing Madonsela of “being personal” after she found that the department acted irregularly in allowing South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) food parcels to be distributed by the ANC Youth League. 

Madonsela’s report found that the handing out of “food parcels” during political rallies gave that party an “unfair advantage”. Madonsela was referring to an ANC Youth League event in 2009, at which former ANCYL president Julius Malema distributed Sassa-sourced food parcels to the crowd. At the time, Edna Molewa was the social development minister. 

Research by the Centre for Social Development in Africa found that four in five poor people would vote for a party because of food parcels.

Addressing journalists in Johannesburg on Monday, ANC national executive committee member and party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa implied there was nothing wrong in ANC leaders’ continued criticism of Madonsela.

“There’s an impression being created that comments shouldn’t be made against certain people,” said Kodwa.

While the ANC has welcomed the public protector’s report on Sassa, it strongly criticised her other report which found the Free State provincial government to have had an “unfair advantage” over other political parties by using state resources during electioneering. 

“Ministers are politicians and are deployed to do the work of the party. The report has to be reviewed as it has far reaching implications,” said Kodwa.

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