Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu is disputing that she owes any money to the Gauteng government‚ claiming that no security upgrades were done to her home.
The Times reports that it was revealed recently, in an answer to the Democratic Alliance’s Jack Bloom’s question in the Gauteng legislature that Mahlangu owes R51‚558 to Premier David Makhura. This is because security-guard costs and security upgrades to her house after 2014 breached the legal limit of R200‚000.
But, the report says Mahlangu’s lawyer‚ Angelo Christophorou‚ said no security upgrades were done after 2014 on Mahlangu’s home in Oriel‚ Bedfordview. He said Mahlangu sent a letter to the premier’s office asking for proof that upgrades were made.
“My client responded to the premier in a letter written on 18 October‚ where she disputed (the claim of security upgrades)‚” Christophorou said. “She has requested invoices or any records to substantiate the allegation of security upgrades having been done after 2014.” Mahlangu is yet to receive a reply from the premier’s office‚ and has not seen any evidence that the security upgrades were implemented.
Christophorou said that while‚ as far as they understand it‚ Mahlangu doesn’t owe money‚ she had been given until June 2018 to pay any amounts she does owe back to government. Therefore‚ he concluded‚ it cannot be said that she has failed to pay back any money.
The report says the premier’s office had failed to respond to queries by the time of publication.
The Times reported earlier that according to Bloom, Mahlangu used taxpayers’ money on her security upgrades and in total has spent R356‚558 since 2009.
Between 2009 and 2014 she spent R104‚000. In 2014 under Makhura‚ she claimed more than R252‚558 for security upgrades‚ but was only allowed to spend R200‚000 in terms of legislation. She is required by Makhura to pay back the R52‚558 difference.
The report says out of all Gauteng MECs‚ Mahlangu spent the most taxpayers’ money on security upgrades on her house between May 2014 and February 2017 this year. Many MECs spent none at all and some like Barbara Creecy spends R415 a month on armed response. Mahlangu is also the only Gauteng MEC who has had security guard services at her house between 2014 and February 2017‚ provided by the government at a cost of R8‚000 a month.
The Gauteng Provincial Legislature answer sent to Bloom states that “all the MECs and former MECs whose security upgrades exceeded the R200‚000 limit – Qedani Mahlangu‚ Molebatsi Bopape and Nandi Mayathula-Khoza – have been notified in writing by the Premier about how much they have to pay back within a specified time frame”. But, the report says, some of these people queried the amounts they need to pay and this is being verified by auditors‚ a process that ended last month. Mahlangu was awaiting the outcome of the verification process by auditors‚ according to the answer.
At a total of R356‚558‚ Bloom says he finds “it suspicious that so much was spent on the house”. This is apparently because: “Security upgrades were done in line with the treat and risk assessment carried out by the SA Police Service.”