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TAC and Corruption Watch want ANC to take action against former Gauteng health officials

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Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa left health department in “shambles” say civil society organisations

Photo of protesters
Hundreds of people from civil society gathered at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Braamfontein before marching to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature against corruption in the Gauteng Health Department. Photo: Zoë Postman
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“The state of health care in Gauteng is in shambles. It has collapsed … and a large part of this collapse is the rampant corruption in the department,” said General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) Anele Yawa.

Yawa and about 300 people from various civil society organisations marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in Braamfontein on Tuesday morning to protest against corruption in the Gauteng Health Department.

The march was organised by the TAC and Corruption Watch. The organisations are demanding that two former Members of the Executive Council of the Gauteng Health Department, Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa, be removed from the the executive of the ANC, following allegations of corruption and negligence. Hlongwa is ANC Chief Whip in the Gauteng legislature and Mahlangu is a member of the ANC provincial executive committee of Gauteng.

Some protesters carried placards that read: “Corrupt cadres are not comrades” and “ANC: protect the people, not the thieves”.

The organisations handed a memorandum over to the Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature, Ntombi Mekgwe, who signed it.

“The recently published Special Investigating Unit report uncovered more than R1.2 billion in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure during Brian Hlongwa’s tenure as MEC of Health,” read the memorandum.

“Former Health MECs Brian Hlongwa and Qedani Mahlangu must be held accountable for their failings. However, instead of facing the consequences of their actions, they have been re-elected into leadership positions in the Gauteng ANC”, said the memorandum.

“The ANC has a disregard for the Constitution, rule of law and rule of the people and they are showing the people of South Africa the middle finger,” said Yawa.

Mahlangu was identified as one of the key role players in the decision to move psychiatric patients to unsuitable non-governmental organisations despite being warned against it. Over 100 patients died.

Yawa said one of the recommendations that came out of the Life Esidimeni case was that the current MEC of Health Gwen Ramokgopa should produce a turnaround plan within 30 days that would outline how mental healthcare services would be improved, but that had not happened.

He told GroundUp that if the department did not respond to their demands with action, the organisations would mobilise more people to remove Hlongwa and Mahlangu.

Mekgwe told the crowd that she was committed to addressing the demands and she would forward them to the relevant departments by the end of the day.

“From time to time we will engage with the leadership of the TAC so we can start this process … We must take these matters forward,” said Mekgwe.

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TOPICS:  Civil Society Health

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