Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance has welcomed the resignation of Brian Hlongwa as the chief whip of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Gauteng Legislature.
Hlongwa resigned on Tuesday following sustained pressure by the DA and before the ANC's integrity commission tabled a report recommending that he, and former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, be expelled from the Gauteng executive.
According to the Special Investigative Unit's report earlier this year, Hlongwa was implicated in corruption of R1.2 billion when he was Health MEC from 2006 to 2009, while Mahlangu was implicated in the Life Esidimeni tragedy that led to 144 deaths because of inadequate health facilities in the province.
Jack Bloom, DA spokesperson on health, said this was long overdue and was no doubt due to the ANC feeling vulnerable because of the upcoming elections.
"According to the DA’s Hlongwa Monitor, it is 126 days since the SIU report which revealed Hlongwa’s involvement in R1.2 billion corruption when he was Health MEC from 2006 to 2009. But there were many previous disclosures that implicated him in horrendous corruption which continues to cripple the Gauteng Health Department," Bloom said.
"He has been protected for a long time and it is disgraceful that he served so long in a senior ANC position despite the corruption cloud over his head. It reflects badly on Premier David Makhura who should have acted against him far sooner."
Bloom said Hlongwa must now be prosecuted without delay in a court of law and be punished for his misdeeds.
Hlongwa has always denied the allegations of receiving kickbacks from certain businessmen. In 2014, the national director of public prosecutions issued an application to seize assets suspected to be the proceeds of crime from Hlongwa and 3P Consulting, relating to dealings with the Gauteng department of health.
In a brief statement, Hlongwa said that he had asked the ANC to relieve him of his duties due to the dark cloud of corruption allegations hanging over his head.
African News Agency (ANA)