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Gauteng ANC and integrity committee at odds over Qedani Mahlangu’s fate

Former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.
Former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

The ANC in Gauteng has disagreed with its own integrity committee that former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and former chief whip Brian Hlongwa be expelled from the party’s leadership structures and their membership be revoked.

 The ANC deemed it enough that Mahlangu and Hlongwa had resigned from public office and there was no need for them to be removed from the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of the ANC.

The provincial integrity committee‚ headed by ANC veteran Trevor Fowler‚ believed that resigning from public office was not enough and the impact of their actions on the party was immense.

On Tuesday‚ Hlongwa resigned from office citing a “need to resolve the eight-year-long accusations” in relation to kickbacks he allegedly received while he was MEC of health in the province.

In a statement released by the party’s provincial secretary‚ Jacob Khawe‚ he confirmed that the meeting on Sunday had discussed the report of the provincial integrity committee.

“The PIC recommended that the comrades not hold any public office positions‚ which the PEC agreed to. It further made recommendations in relation to the membership of the comrades‚ both in the ANC and its structures. The PEC disagreed with these recommendations‚ as it was the view of the PEC that this is the purview of a constitutional disciplinary committee and not the integrity committee‚” he said.

Hlongwa was implicated in a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report that linked him to alleged corrupt dealings involving about R1.2-billion in the department of health between 2006 and 2009.

Mahlangu was subjected to the integrity committee for her role in the Life Esidimeni crisis‚ where at least 144 psychiatric patients died after they were transferred to unlicensed NGOs.

At the same time‚ the integrity committee also investigated former Emfuleni mayor Simon Mofokeng‚ who is alleged to have sexually groomed a 14-year-old girl.

Khawe said the provincial ANC leadership discussed the implications of its decision on the cases and “was unanimous that these should not be treated lightly given the role and responsibility of the ANC to the people of this province”.

The meeting heard that the recommendations by the integrity commission did not mean the trio was guilty.

“As a result of the PIC process‚ the ANC has received a request from Cde Brian Hlongwa to relieve him of his duties as the Chief Whip of the ANC Caucus in the Legislature‚ which we have accepted. This is in line with recommendations made by the PIC that the affected comrades not hold any position in public office‚” Khawe said.

He further said the PEC meeting heard from chairperson and premier David Makhura about his efforts to fight corruption in the province - but he did not detail what those efforts were.

“The PEC welcomed substantial work done by the current ANC-led administration in Gauteng over the past four years to promote integrity‚ accountability‚ transparency and sound management of public resources‚ the evidence of which is seen in the improvements in clean audits and drastic reduction of irregular expenditure‚ fraud and corruption‚” the statement read.

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