ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) member and spokesperson Nkenke Kekana has informed The Citizen that “the organisation [ANC Gauteng] has been in discussion with Cde Qedani [Mahlangu] on her availability to appear before the arbitration led by the former deputy chief justice, Dikgang Moseneke”.
Kekana has also denied allegations that the PEC has turned a blind eye to growing calls for the now London School of Economics and Politics PhD student to appear before the arbitrator.
“She [Mahlangu] indicated that she does not have any problem to appear, but was not on the list of witnesses. She has made contact with the office of the arbitrator to discuss the logistics of appearing,” Kekana said in response to The Citizen’s queries on what the PEC’s view was on the apparent reluctance to help Moseneke subpoena Mahlangu.
In a response on behalf of the provincial government yesterday, spokesperson Thabo Masebe told The Citizen the list of witnesses handed to Moseneke excluded Mahlangu’s name, as she was neither an employee of the provincial government nor an office-bearer.
The provincial government recommended that Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Premier David Makhura and the current MEC in the province, Dr Gwendoline Ramokgopa, give evidence during the arbitration process.
Masebe later updated his response to The Citizen by indicating that whereas the onus was on the arbitrator himself to subpoena whoever he deemed fit to appear during the hearings currently under way in Parktown, the provincial government was willing to do everything “legally possible” to assist with the facilitation of appearances of witnesses, including Mahlangu.
“At the end of August 2017 Comrade Qedani Mahlangu requested leave of absence from her provincial executive committee responsibilities to be able to travel overseas for purposes of pursuing her postgraduate studies. Therefore any suggestion that the organisation does not know her whereabouts is incorrect. Cde Qedani is still an elected member of of the PEC,” Kekana said.
Mahlangu was elected into the ANC Gauteng PEC during the 2014 elective conference. The same conference also elected Paul Mashatile as chairperson, David Makhura as chairperson, Hope Papo as secretary and Dr Ramokgopa as deputy secretary.
Kekana could not substantially respond to whether Mahlangu’s alleged negligence by omission or commission that consequently led to the deaths of more than 140 mental ill patients had brought the party into disrepute, only indicating: “The referral of the matter to the Provincial Integrity Committee is something that is still being processed internally.”
Dr Ralph Mgijima, the Integrity Commissioner for Gauteng provincial legislature, wrote to The Citizen in an emailed response: “No complaint has been submitted so far in our office.”