SIU report a ploy to 'embarrass Gauteng ANC' - Hlongwa

Former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa says a report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which links him to corruption amounting to R1.2bn, was nothing new and labelled it a ploy "to embarrass the Gauteng ANC".

Hlongwa was once again in the headlines last week following the release of the damning SIU report in May which links him and various officials and companies to corrupt activities.

"Contrary to the impression created in the media, therefore, the SIU Report is not a new and sensational expose," Hlongwa said in a statement on Monday.

"The report is a summary of an ongoing legal process, the detail of which has been in the public domain for the last four years and which, I add, has been regularly reheated [sic] at strategic intervals, primarily to embarrass the Gauteng ANC," he said.

The report details outcomes of an investigation which were submitted to former president Jacob Zuma in March 2017.

Read more here: The corruption behind Gauteng Health crisis revealed

This after Zuma had tasked the SIU to investigate alleged corruption in the health department in May 2010.

"Until the report's publication, I was not aware that the SIU had completed its investigation, which it had commenced in 2010."

Hlongwa said the matter was widely reported in 2014, when the Director of Public Prosecution sought a preservation order against the property, which he allegedly bought with proceeds of corruptly awarded tenders. 

He said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had instituted proceedings for the forfeiture in 2014.

Hlongwa said affidavits were exchanged in those proceedings and that he was cooperating fully with the NPA.

"The allegations in the NPA's papers (now summarised in the SIU Report) have been regularly ventilated in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature at least once a year since 2014, and each round has likewise been reported in the press. I ask that the law be permitted to take its course in relation to the ongoing proceedings.

'Political protection'

"In October 2014, the Hawks informed me that they had issued a warrant for my arrest – again, in respect of the self-same allegations which are now summarised in the SIU Report. I arranged to hand myself over to the Hawks.

"My legal representatives had already prepared affidavits in support of the inevitable bail application when the Hawks informed me that, at that point in time, they would not be proceeding with my arrest. I am not privy to their reasons."

In its report, the SIU uncovered evidence of various trips funded by 3P Consulting for Hlongwa and a few Gauteng Department of Health officials during 2006-2009. 

"No evidence was obtained of Hlongwa declaring the trips or paying/reimbursing 3P Consulting for these trips," read part of the report.

The DA's Gauteng health spokesperson, Jack Bloom, said previously that Premier David Makhura should act on the latest report.

"I suspect that Hlongwa has received political protection, as the case against him has not yet reached court, eight years after the SIU commenced investigation.

"I hope that this case goes to court as soon as possible, as the Gauteng Health Department has yet to recover from the disastrous period under Hlongwa," Bloom said at the time.

The Treatment Action Campaign and Corruption Watch said in a statement last week that they had written to the Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions and the Asset Forfeiture Unit.