BUSINESSMAN: Gauteng MEC for health Brian Hlongwa. 15/04/09. Pic. Peter Mogaki. © Sowetan.
BUSINESSMAN: Gauteng MEC for health Brian Hlongwa. 15/04/09. Pic. Peter Mogaki. © Sowetan.

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Brian Hlongwa, Gauteng's MEC for health, is in hot water following his public declaration of his wealth.

According to sources, Hlongwa was summoned to Luthuli House yesterday to explain himself to his ANC bosses. This followed the publication of a front page story in yesterday's Sowetan in which Hlongwa seemed to be bragging about how wealthy he is.

He was responding to allegations by Jack Bloom of the DA that he was corrupt and could not afford a R7,2million mansion in Bryanston.

In denying the allegations, Hlongwa said he made 10 times more than his salary from his businesses.

Hlongwa told Sowetan that being Gauteng MEC for health is a service to the community. He said he did not do it for the money because his 17 businesses generate 10 times more than his salary as the head of the provincial health department.

Yesterday the ANC issued a statement distancing itself from the MEC.

ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte said the party distanced itself from the sentiment expressed by Hlongwa .

Duarte called on Hlongwa to refrain from making statements that are inconsistent with the ANC's vision and objectives.

Gauteng premier Paul Mashatile ordered Hlongwa to apologise for his statement. He said the role of MECs "is to serve the community with dedication, energy, commitment and humility".

"Mashatile has asked the provincial director-general Mallele Petje to investigate the allegations regarding Hlongwa's relationship with a service provider doing work for his department. Mashatile will also request the Integrity Commissioner to investigate the matter," said spokesperson Simon Zwane.

Hlongwa has apologised to the ANC and the people of Gauteng for his comments.

"I acknowledge that the ANC is a party that is supported by the poor and the working class, and that the impression created by my statements were unfortunate and in poor taste," Hlongwa said.