Friday 12 July

Johannesburg, 8 December 2021 –The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and SECTION27 welcome the news that Brian Hlongwa may finally be brought to justice after he and six other co-accused appeared in court yesterday on schedule 5 charges. According to a report from the Special Investigation Unit to the President of the Republic of South Africa, Brian Hlongwa and other defendants are alleged to have been involved in gross financial misconduct and widespread corruption worth up to R1.2 billion in the Gauteng Health Department between 2006 and 2009. Hlongwa was serving as MEC for Health during that time. SECTION27, TAC and Corruption Watch made the report public in June 2018 after President Cyril Ramaphosa provided it to the organisations a year after it was completed, and 8 years after the Presidential proclamation signed by President Zuma authorised the investigation. It took a Promotion of Access to Information request for the report to finally be made public.

It has taken over a decade for the former MEC and his associates to face the might of the law. Over the years, Brian Hlongwa has been a symbol that corruption pays, and nothing happens to politically connected persons who have been credibly accused of corruption. In fact, that Brian Hlongwa continued to hold public office as the Chief Whip of the African National Congress in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature despite these damning allegations until his resignation in October 2018 after pressure from Corruption Watch, SECTION27, TAC and other actors, is an indictment on the ANC in Gauteng.

Over the years TAC and SECTION27 have called for accountability from those who hold both public and private power. We are happy to see private sector actors allegedly involved in corruption, such as Richard Payne from 3P Consulting, also being held to account.

We call on duty bearers, particularly in the province, to lead in fixing the healthcare system, which has been in crisis for many years.

According to the second edition of Ritshidze’s Gauteng State of Health report, many of the problems that were witnessed during Brian Hlongwa’s tenure as MEC for Health, including dire staff shortages, non-functional filing systems and infrastructural issues are still plaguing the province today. The province still has high levels of debt and medico-legal claims. The health outcomes in the province are also worth noting – only 57% of people living with HIV in the province are virally suppressed.

We look forward to attending the proceedings on 22 April 2022 when the case resumes.

 

Ends***

 

For media engagement, contact:

Xabisa Qwabe (Communications Officer, TAC)

076 850 6736 | xabisa.@mail.tac.org.za

Boitumelo Masipa (SECTION27)

081 452 9096 |masipa@section27.org.za


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