Gauteng ANC asks for time to deal with controversial PEC members

The ANC in Gauteng has asked for time to deal with controversies around two embattled members of its newly-elected provincial executive committee (PEC).

Disgraced former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa, who is facing corruption charges from his term as Health MEC, have made the cut in the party's top leadership structure in the province.

Their names were announced, along with 30 others, following the ANC's three-day provincial conference over the weekend.

Mahlangu and Hlongwa were just some of the PEC members who could not attend the media briefing held by the new leadership collective at the ANC's national headquarters in Luthuli House on Monday.

Mahlangu had been hauled before the party's integrity committee for her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of at least 144 psychiatric patients after they were transferred from the institution to several unlicensed NGOs.

A specialised investigative unit has implicated Hlongwa, along with other officials, in corrupt activities to the tune of R1.2bn during his tenure at the health department between 2006 and 2009.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who previously served as the political party's deputy and acting chairperson, was elected uncontested as provincial chair.

Addressing reporters on Monday, Makhura asked that the ANC in the province be given more time to attend to the matters.

"I think the totality of the ANC's processes will be when the integrity processes has concluded," said Makhura.

'Conference is not the integrity committee'

He said the outgoing provincial executive committee, which he was a part of, had given a report to the conference which indicated that matters around Mahlangu and Hlongwa were still being dealt with "immediately".

"Conference is not the integrity committee. Delegates will exercise their judgement and when they have exercised their judgements we respect that. These two comrades have been elected into the PEC," said Makhura.

"But conference did so knowing that if the processes of the ANC are concluded and there is any decisions that should be made, the leadership that is elected would do so," added Makhura.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who was elected as Makhura's deputy, explained that the conference had agreed that the matters should be resolved speedily.

"We were seriously directed with immediate effect to attend to these two matters that have been raised, both from an ethical point of view, but importantly from a resolution point of view," said Lesufi.

Lesufi also went to great lengths to explain that the new leadership collective would not protect anyone should they be found wanting.

"There must be no stone left unturned. If there are matters of this magnitude, the leadership must be decisive, it must be effective, it must be active to resolve this matter," said Lesufi.

He also asked that the new leadership collective, which is yet to sit down for its first formal meeting, be given "space" and that it would do as mandated, to resolve the issue.

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