For Brian Hlongwa, being Gauteng MEC for health is a service to the community. He says he does not do it for the money because his businesses make 10 times more than his salary as the head of the provincial health department.
In an interview with Sowetan yesterday, Hlongwa poured cold water on suggestions that - based on his salary of just under R1million - he cannot afford his R7,2million mansion in Bryanston, northern Johannesburg.
"It was an insult for Jack Bloom to insinuate I bought my R7,2million house through corruption linked to one of the consulting firms contracted to my department, 3P Consulting," he said of the DA leader in the Gauteng legislature.
He challenged Bloom to prove the allegations he made against him before the law and to the Public Protector.
Hlongwa was responding to media allegations suggesting that he could not afford his Bryanston house on his salary.
He said he had been in business since 1997, long before he joined the provincial government. He gave Sowetan a list of his 14 companies, all of which were declared to the legislature when he became MEC in 2006. Among them is the Golden Pond Trading 363 (Pty) Ltd, under which the R7,2million mansion is registered.
Bloom alleged that the only way Hlongwa could afford the house was through kickbacks he received from the managing director of 3P Consulting and his long-time friend Richard Payne.
Hlongwa denied that Payne was the guarantor when he bought his house, but said he had known Payne, who is a lawyer, for a very long time.
"Payne acted for me only when I was unable to meet the seller. He has no other connection to my house."
He said that 3P Consulting was a service provider to his department, but said there was nothing untoward in his relationship with Payne.
The firm was awarded a three-year R60million tender in 2007, which was increased to R80million. This was increased to R229 million in the next financial year. The contract was extended for another three years in February this year and is now worth R273million a year.
Hlongwa said 3P Consulting winning the tender had nothing to do with him.
"I did not influence the department to award his company the R229million tender. He won it on his own merit."