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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


PICS: The dilapidated, half-built ‘Nkandla of Gauteng’

The DA wants the ANC's Gauteng chief whip to repay R7.2m for a property in Bryanston that was allegedly acquired through corruption.


The DA hosted a picket and walkabout on Monday of the site that some now refer to as the “Nkandla of Gauteng” – the half-built house of Gauteng ANC chief whip Brian Hlongwa.

On Monday, the DA said they wanted Hlongwa to pay back the money spent on the house he bought in Bryanston. They claim Hlongwa bought the property for R7.2 million with the help of companies and individuals who were benefiting from corruption in the health department when he it was under his care as MEC from 2006 to 2009.

DA Shadow MEC for Health Jack Bloom at the house in Bryanston, 2 July 2018 that former Gauteng Health MEC, Brian Hlongwa bougtht in 2007. There are various allegations with regard to this house including that a corrupt relationship with Health department suppliers enabled him to buy it, demolish it and start rebuilding this new one. The Johannesburg High Court granted a preservation order in 2014 as suspected proceeds of crime. It is alleged that Hlongwa recieved payments of around R12 million in fraudulent payments which enabled him to start building this house. The DA estimate that the total amount lost to corruption when he was the Health MEC could be as high as R2 Billion. Neil McCartney

Five years ago the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) applied for an asset forfeiture order against the house due to allegations that it was bought from the proceeds of crime. The house is currently under curatorship as that matter is being finalised.

On Monday, the DA staged a picket outside the house after opposition parties in the province demanded that the ANC and Premier David Makhura put their money where their mouths were on corruption and remove Hlongwa.

They submitted a motion to the provincial legislature to have Hlongwa removed as chief whip of the ruling party and ANC MPL following a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) probe that implicated the politician in corruption amounting to R1.2 billion.

The DA’s Ghaleb Cachalia joined DA Shadow MEC for Health, Jack Bloom (not pictured) at the house in Bryanston, 2 July 2018 that former Gauteng Health MEC, Brian Hlongwa bougtht in 2007. There are various allegations with regard to this house including that a corrupt relationship with Health department suppliers enabled him to buy it, demolish it and start rebuilding this new one. The Johannesburg High Court granted a preservation order in 2014 as suspected proceeds of crime. It is alleged that Hlongwa recieved payments of around R12 million in fraudulent payments which enabled him to start building this house. The DA estimate that the total amount lost to corruption when he was the Health MEC could be as high as R2 Billion. Neil McCartney

The SIU investigated corruption in the Gauteng health department during the Hlongwa tenure as MEC for health. Hlongwa and some of his health department officials allegedly received kickbacks from companies, including various trips funded by 3P Consulting firm, between 2006 to 2009.

According to the SIU report, “evidence was obtained of Hlongwa declaring the trips or paying/ reimbursing 3P Consulting for these trips,” read a part of the report.

But Hlongwa denied any wrongdoing, saying the allegations and media reports against him on this were nothing new.

The house in Bryanston, 2 July 2018 that former Gauteng Health MEC, Brian Hlongwa bougtht in 2007. There are various allegations with regard to this house including that a corrupt relationship with Health department suppliers enabled him to buy it, demolish it and start rebuilding this new one. The Johannesburg High Court granted a preservation order in 2014 as suspected proceeds of crime. It is alleged that Hlongwa recieved payments of around R12 million in fraudulent payments which enabled him to start building this house. The DA estimate that the total amount lost to corruption when he was the Health MEC could be as high as R2 Billion. Neil McCartney

Following the SIU report and opposition pressure, the ANC in the province blamed the delay on both its integrity committee and the SIU.

The party asked the committee to conclude the matter it claimed had been before the committee and a subject of enquiry by law enforcement agencies for more than seven years. It is not clear why this issue had been delayed for so long, but the committee is expected to meet next month to deliberate the matter.

ANC Gauteng provincial secretary Hope Papo said the ANC provincial working committee was concerned about the long delay.

“The ANC is of the view that the dragging on of this case for this long undermines the democratic state fight against corruption and violates the right to speedy justice. We call on the criminal justice system to expedite the matter and bring closure on it,” Papo said.

The DA’s Ghaleb Cachalia joined DA Shadow MEC for Health, Jack Bloom (not pictured) at the house in Bryanston, 2 July 2018 that former Gauteng Health MEC, Brian Hlongwa bougtht in 2007. There are various allegations with regard to this house including that a corrupt relationship with Health department suppliers enabled him to buy it, demolish it and start rebuilding this new one. The Johannesburg High Court granted a preservation order in 2014 as suspected proceeds of crime. It is alleged that Hlongwa recieved payments of around R12 million in fraudulent payments which enabled him to start building this house. The DA estimate that the total amount lost to corruption when he was the Health MEC could be as high as R2 Billion. Neil McCartney

According to DA shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom, former president Jacob Zuma had kept the report under lock and key in an attempt to negate damage to the ANC brand and protect Hlongwa. He said since the report was released to Section 27 NGO, the ANC had remained silent on the matter and shied away from scrutiny.

The opposition motion was tabled in the legislature on Thursday. Bloom said the tabling afforded the ANC the opportunity to take a firm stance against the rot within its ranks.

Bloom added on Monday: “We want the money back because this is money for hospitals and clinics. This property at some stage, when it’s successfully attached which I think it’s going to happen, will have to be sold and the money must go back to the Gauteng health department to fix up their health system that Brian Hlongwa ruined.”

He said last week: “This was an opportune moment for Premier David Makhura to live up to his word of taking a tough stance against corruption. However, as to be expected, the Gauteng ANC has shielded Hlongwa from scrutiny and has, in turn, endorsed the looting of public funds by members of its organisation,” Bloom said.

“Just like former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu was allowed to slip off the hook, it is evident that the ANC are going to afford Hlongwa the same treatment.”

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Brian Hlongwa Nkandla