Allegations of graft during his tenure as Gauteng health MEC aren’t new, says ANC Gauteng chief whip. In fact, they’re talked about regularly.
Last week, the legal advocacy organisation Section27 released a Special Investigations Unit report detailing alleged graft at the Gauteng health department between 1 January 2006 to 14 May 2010. Current ANC Gauteng Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa served as Gauteng’s Health MEC from 2006 to 2009. Hlongwa initially declined to comment in response to Bhekisisa questions. He issued this response onMonday:
This statement is issued in response to the release in the media of the SIU’s Report of its investigation into certain affairs at the Gauteng Department of Health during 2006 to 2009, at which time I was MEC for Health, Gauteng.
- Until the report’s publication, I was not aware that the SIU had completed its investigation, which it had commenced in 2010. I have now read the report and wish to place the following on record:
- The matter in the report is not new. The press reported thereupon in detail in July 2014 when the Director of Public Prosecutions sought and obtained a preservation order against the property which, so it was alleged, I had bought with the proceeds of the (allegedly) corruptly-awarded tenders that the SIU report lists. The following press reports from July 2014 are a matter of public record:
Mail & Guardian, 25 July 2014 ‘Hlongwa’s house of graft and lies’
News24, 27 July 2014 ‘ANC heavyweight in R1.4bn corruption scandal’
Independent Newspapers, 27 July 2014 ‘Hawks circle ANC chief whip’
- The NPA’s affidavits in the 2014 preservation application were made by the SIU, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) and the NPA. The affidavits run to some 12 000 pages. The NPA’s case traverses each of the tenders and contracts that the SIU Report deals with, in greater detail and supported by documentary evidence. The application papers are a matter of public record and have been since 2014.
- The allegations in the NPA’s papers (now summarised in the SIU Report) have been regularly ventilated in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature at least once a year since 2014, and each round has likewise been reported in the press.
- In 2014, the NPA instituted proceedings for the forfeiture of the property which it alleges I bought with the proceeds of corruption in respect of the Department of Health tenders. Affidavits are being exchanged in those proceedings and I am cooperating fully with the NPA. I ask that the law be permitted to take its course in relation to the ongoing proceedings.
- As regards the criminal proceedings referred to in the SIU report: in October 2014, the Hawks informed me that they had issued a warrant for my arrest — again, in respect of the self-same allegations which are now summarised in the SIU report. I arranged to hand myself over to the Hawks. My legal representatives had already prepared affidavits in support of the inevitable bail application when the Hawks informed me that, at that point in time, they would not be proceeding with my arrest. I am not privy to their reasons.
- Contrary to the impression created in the media therefore, the SIU report is not a new and sensational expose: the Report is a summary of on-going legal process, the detail of which has been in the public domain for the last four years and which, I add, has been regularly reheated at strategic intervals primarily to embarrass the Gauteng ANC.
Issued by B. T. Hlongwa 25 June 2018