The fallout from the Life Esidimeni and other scandals has finally caught up with former Gauteng Health MECs Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa. They have no other option but to resign from their roles as provincial executive committee (PEC) members. News24 reports that it has seen a letter in which Mahlangu is informed that the ANC’s national working committee has endorsed a recommendation that she steps down from the PEC.
The letter was drafted by the Gauteng ANC’s deputy provincial secretary, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, and was addressed to Mahlangu. ANC Gauteng secretary Jacob Khawe said a similar letter was sent to Hlongwa. “We asked them to step aside to self-correct, for personal growth and the protection of the ANC brand,” Khawe is quoted in the report as saying.
In October, the party announced that the two would remain members of the PEC despite recommendations from the provincial integrity commission that they step down from the leadership structure and for their membership to be revoked for a period.
The report says Mahlangu, Gauteng’s former health MEC, was hauled before the integrity commission for her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which resulted in the death of at least 144 psychiatric patients after they were transferred from Life healthcare institutions to several unlicensed NGOs. Mahlangu resigned as MEC in February 2017.
In October, Hlongwa resigned as the party’s chief whip in the Gauteng legislature shortly before the Gauteng ANC announced its decision that Hlongwa and Mahlangu would not serve in public office but remain on the PEC. Hlongwa has been embroiled in allegations of corruption, stemming from his tenure as health MEC.
“It is unfortunate that the letter has been leaked before the PEC could formally resolve, but all other structures of the movement have come to the same conclusion that the integrity of the ANC has to be saved,” said Khawe, referring to a letter which was made public before a formal announcement.
The PEC previously maintained it was not the role of the integrity commission to pronounce on membership and sought to consult on that finding. “From the onset, we did say to the people of Gauteng we have to look at this matter, subject it to integrity, and act accordingly,” said Khawe.
He said it would have been a “missed opportunity” for the ANC not to clarify the party’s own rules and position on issues of membership. “They were not subjected to a disciplinary hearing. Sanctioning of membership has nothing to do with the integrity of the party,” said the provincial secretary. “Here we asked for revolutionary conscience and morality,” he added.News24 report