South Africa: MPs say parliament canteen 'makes us fat'

South African politicians are sworn into office Politicians are 'nice and slim' when first elected but put on weight once in office

South African MPs have complained the meals served in the restaurant at Parliament are too fattening, it seems.

In fact, they say the meals on offer are so unhealthy they're causing obesity among parliamentary ranks, the Times Live website reports. Members are apparently "nice and slim" when they are elected to office, but "they all go out obese", says Sheila Sithole, an MP for the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Fellow ANC member Zukile Luyenge agrees: "Every food item has fats and too much protein." If politicians' meetings run into lunchtime, they can snack on dishes such as lamb chops, samosas or spicy sausages. Or they could have a three-course meal at the restaurant, the website says.

The food is so notorious one MP reportedly started boycotting the meals entirely, shunning the canteen in favour of healthier options available off site, Sithole says. And in 2012 the country's health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, said an expanding waistline was an occupational hazard for politicians. "The problem as a public representative is that there is food everywhere - that is the danger of this profession." But Luyenge says he has just the antidote - colleagues should try sweating it out in the official gym to keep the excess pounds at bay.

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