Gauteng ANC Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa resigned just hours before the party’s provincial executive committee released a statement in which it backed calls by its integrity committee to bar Hlongwa from public office.
Similarly prohibited from bearing office are Simon Mofokeng and former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu. Mahlangu presided over what has become known as the Life Esidimeni tragedy in which 144 state mental health patients lost their lives after she ordered their removal from long-term state-sponsored care at private hospitals.
Mofokeng was suspended as mayor of Emfuleni and later left office after claims surfaced that he had allegedly sexually assaulted a minor, several media outlets have reported.
Hlongwa is alleged to have crippled the Gauteng health department after a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report found that over R1.2-billion was lost to graft during his tenure as MEC. The 122-page document — released earlier this year by public interest law organisation Section27 — revealed new about the extent of rot at the provincial health department, which essentially became an informal arm of the now-liquidated consulting firm, 3P Consulting.
The report had been handed over to President Jacob Zuma in March 2017. Hlongwa told Bhekisisa in June that he had arranged to hand himself over to the Hawks in 2014 so that the allegations against him could be investigated.
He said: “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.”
At the Presidential health summit earlier this month, SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi said the healthcare sector remains at a high risk for corruption and is one of their focus areas. He also warned decisive action had to be taken against those implicated in SIU reports.
“We want independent investigations that are turned around quickly and submit and identify findings appropriately. Once those findings come out, there’s this worry that there is no action.
“We would like to make sure that the space is known for taking actions. Prosecutions, civil litigations, disciplinary actions have to follow”, Mothibi explained.
In its statement, the provincial executive committee said it had disagreed with recommendations by the integrity committee that the trio’s behaviour carry possible consequences for at least some members’ standing in the party, including membership. The executive committee, however, did not go into specifics as to what those recommendations were and to who they applied.
Hlongwa and Mahlangu were elected to the party’s provincial executive committee in July.
Read the full statement below.
Have something to say? Tweet or Facebook us on @Bhekisisa_MG
Brian Hlongwa steps down as ANC chief whip in Gauteng legislature
Mahlangu, Hlongwa elected to top Gauteng ANC body
Read Brian Hlongwa's response to the SIU report
Hlongwa responds to SIU report: ‘I arranged to hand myself over to the Hawks’
Limos & spas: Take a look at why Gauteng ANC Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa resigned.
READ: #LifeEsidimeni families shocked and outraged at the re-election of Mahlangu
'I told Mahlangu, you must leave the country, go into exile for two years.'
#LifeEsidimeni: Five of the most unbelievable things Qedani Mahlangu said
#LifeEsidimeni: Qedani Mahlangu's ego and the death of 143 patients
#LifeEsidimeni: In six weeks we'll know if Qedani Mahlangu will be prosecuted
When a few months of treatment costs as much as a house, some patients are taking their lives and the law into their own hands to survive.
One in four people carry this potentially deadly bug? Now a new shorter treatment can prevent it from making you sick.
Recent national and Gauteng memos demanding all foreign patients pay in full for services likely fell foul of the law.
Bhekisisa means "to scrutinise" in Zulu
In South Africa, Zulu patients who would like to be thoroughly assessed by a doctor, would ask the physician to "bhekisisa" them.