BLAMED: Qedani Mahlangu
BLAMED: Qedani Mahlangu
PROBED: Brian Hlongwa
PROBED: Brian Hlongwa
The Gauteng ANC was at pains on Monday to explain the election in its top provincial leadership of two highly controversial figures.

They are disgraced former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, who was found to have been negligent in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, and its chief whip in the legislature, Brian Hlongwa, who is implicated in a R1.2billion corruption scandal, also during his tenure as health MEC.

Over the weekend, ANC branch members voted the pair onto the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC).

Premier David Makhura, who is the newly elected provincial chairperson, said the election of Mahlangu and Hlongwa into the party’s top structure did not mean the ANC had compromised its integrity, as the two were being hauled before the party’s integrity committee.

“If the ANC’s integrity process does not produce satisfactory results, you can assess the ANC then. Don’t do so before the time. This conference is one process, and the integrity process is separate.

“They are all processes of the ANC. When you assess the ANC’s stance, take into account what its integrity process says,” Makhura said.

He said the provincial conference briefly discussed the allegations against the pair and called on the new provincial leadership to conclude the internal probes against them, and act if necessary.

“This conference is not an integrity committee delegates here have exercised their judgments. We respect that, and these two comrades have been elected onto the PEC, but the conference did so knowing that if the processes of the ANC are concluded and there are any decisions to be made, the leadership that is elected will do so,” Makhura added.

He said his defence for Hlongwa from calls by the DA for his axing from the provincial legislature was as a matter of principle, as he had not yet been found guilty.

The allegations against the two are set to form part of opposition party campaigns against the ANC ahead of next year’s general elections, if they remain in their posts.

Newly elected deputy provincial chairperson and education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the party had adopted a resolution to urgently act on the allegations against Mahlangu and Hlongwa, as the two matters had been dragging on.

“It is a crucial resolution that no stone must be left unturned In matters of this magnitude, leaders must be decisive and effective in resolving this impasse.

“We are requesting society just to give us the space. We have just come out of this conference and we are mandated to resolve this matter,” Lesufi pointed out.

Newly elected provincial secretary Jacob Khawe said the party’s conference had called for zero tolerance to corruption.

“Delegates were emphatic and unanimous that vigilance should be the order of the day in dealing with the current crisis of corruption in the public and private sectors.

“It also noted that corruption networks will not accept their fates without putting up a fight,” he said.

Among those elected onto the PEC are several leaders of the ANC Youth League in the province, including its provincial chairperson Matome Chiloane, provincial secretary Bonisile Modise and provincial spokesperson Mbali Hlophe.

Former Tshwane mayor and regional chairperson Kgosientso Ramokgopa, his ex-deputy Mapiti Matsena and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko were included in the new PEC.

Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma commented yesterday that the election of only one woman in the party’s top five was a reflection of continuing patriarchy, which she said must be fought.