The Democratic Alliance (DA) has in Ekurhuleni has accused the African National Congress (ANC) in the region of politicising Covid-19 food relief.
DA councillor in the Ekurhuleni caucus Kade Guerreiro said the DA “has been reliable informed that the ANC in the City of Ekurhuleni has turned the food relief bank into a political programme despite numerous calls” from it to work together during the Covid-19 crisis for the benefit of all needy residents.
“The official City of Ekurhuleni Facebook page further indicates that the ANC is steering the city’s food relief programme, which is tantamount to electioneering.
“In one such post at 1.15pm on 21 May 2020, the chief whip of council, councillor Jongizizwe Dlabathi, could be seen delivering food parcels in full ANC regalia.
“The food bank represents the City of Ekurhuleni and not any particular political party.
“Unfortunately, it appears the rules do not apply to the ANC members,” said Guerreiro.
UPDATE: In a statement on Tuesday, however, Dlabathi denied all the accusations against him and said he would be demanding an apology from Guerreiro in council. His rebuttal can be read below.
Receiving a food donation from Progressive Business Forum on 21 May, which contributed to the city’s food bank, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina welcomed, among others, councillors from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and said, jokingly, that the red berets were present because “fighters they don’t want the ANC to steal the food”.
Guerreiro said ANC councillors distributing food parcels while wearing party regalia made it appear as if the ANC was “more focused on electioneering”.
“In another Facebook post at 3.21pm on 22 May 2020, the mayoral committee member (MMC) for water and sanitation, councillor Tiisetso Nketle also dressed in ANC regalia, rolled up her sleeves to deliver food parcels to residents of the Ramaphosa and Joe Slovo Informal Settlements.
“This is despite Gauteng Premier David Makhura indicating that food should be given to those in need, not be distributed along political lines and that councillors and politicians should stay away from the distribution of food parcels.
“The role of councillors is simply to identify those in need.
“It is shocking that the ANC is using the Covid-19 crisis to promote their party to vulnerable residents in Ekurhuleni.”
The councillor said the DA called on all those distributing food aides to do so fairly and not on the basis of which political party people belonged to, the colour of their skin or what language they spoke.
The ANC Caucus in Ekurhuleni later “refuted” “with contempt” the allegations levelled by Guerreiro.
“These false and one-sided allegations reported by The Citizen published on the 25th May 2020 are nothing else but malicious and irresponsible, and meant to undermine the good work done by the City of Ekurhuleni and to unnecessary tarnish the name of the ANC and that of the ANC Chief Whip.
“On the day (21st May 2020), the ANC Chief Whip visited the Food Bank as part of oversight like all political parties, including the leader of DA who also visited the Food Bank.
“Therefore, it is factually incorrect to make such remarks and accuse the ANC Chief Whip in Ekurhuleni that he was involved in the distribution, except observing the process to receipt of donation (sic).
“ANC Caucus has recently issued a statement re-iterating that no ANC Councillor are involved in the distribution of food parcels coming from the Ekurhuleni Covid-19 Foodbank, a stance we have always maintained to date.
“Once more, we want to emphasise that the issue of food parcels should not be used for political gains, worse without verified facts.
“Therefore, the ANC Chief Whip will be demanding a formal apology from DA Councillor Kate Guerreiro for making such irresponsible and false accusations, failing which; the matter will be referred to Ethics.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)