South Africa’s Municipality election is just few months to come. Meanwhile, voters have condemned the previous acts by political parties, of distributing food items and other related materials to individuals prior to or on the day of election.
A recent research report by the Center For Social Development Africa (CSDA) reveals that majority of South Africa’s eligible voters particularly in poor communities, believe that the handing out of food parcels during elections campaigns results to vote buying.
According to the CSDA report published in 2014, 70% of South Africa’s voters in the three selected wards described the handing out of food parcels before an election to ‘vote buying’ and only 27% of those that participated in the study thought that people are more likely to vote for a political party because of food parcels.
This therefore suggests that most voters disapprove of handing out food parcels before an election.
Speaking on this, CSDA’s director Professor Leila Patel said the study had a particular focus on ‘poor’ communities because they wanted to explore how social protection benefits and social grants, which are aimed at those who are unable to support themselves, impact on voters’ behavior.
“I think the results of the study shows that poor voters can apply their minds when it comes to elections. Many times they are perceived as vulnerable, but our research shows that they are not that easily persuaded and they have autonomy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has rightly condemned party’s distribution of food items to South Africans during election campaigns.
Speaking earlier this month, Madonsela condemned the distribution of food parcels in 2009 by Julius Malema, then leader of the ANC Youth League, saying its an abuse of state resources.
“The conduct of SASSA and its officials in distributing state-purchased food parcels at a political party event and allowing a leader of a political party who does not work for government to distribute such food parcels was inconsistent with the provisions of section 195 of the Constitution and accordingly constitutes abuse of state resources and maladministration,” said Madonsela.
Public Protector Madonsela therefore called for a policy that sets out a clear separation between the state and party activities and for all public employees to be made aware of this policy.