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    Saturday, June 23, 2018

    Push to Charge Former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa Following Release of Damning SIU Report

    South Africa: A report by the Special Investigative Unit, which probed how former Gauteng health chief Brian Hlongwa spent over U.S.$89 million on expenses, including limousine-chauffeured spa treatments and deposits for luxury homes, has been made public. Former president Jacob Zuma was handed the document in March 2017 but never released it.

    Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has asked for an opportunity to study a damning report conducted by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which links former MEC Brian Hlongwa to corruption amounting to R1.2bn while he was in the position between 2006 and 2009.

    Speaking to News24 on Friday, Ramokgopa said: "I am waiting to receive the full report so that I can study it and look at what the department must do.
    "We know that it is a matter that happened a number of years ago, so we will also have to see what may be recommended and what is already being implemented, or [if] they are still any risks. I need an opportunity to study the report, and then I will revert back."

    Hlongwa could not be reached for comment.
    The report details outcomes of an investigation which was submitted to former president Jacob Zuma in March 2017.
    This after Zuma had tasked the SIU to investigate alleged corruption in the health department in May 2010.
    The report links Hlongwa and various officials and companies to corrupt activities.
    It also reveals that Hlongwa received money to help purchase his R 7.2m house in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

    'Political protection'
    "The SIU uncovered evidence of various trips provided by 3P Consulting to 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 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.
    Meanwhile, the Treatment Action Campaign and Corruption Watch said in a statement this week that they had written to the Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions and the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

    Executive director of Corruption Watch David Lewis said the revelations illustrated examples of state capture practices.
    "We find it frustrating that it took the SIU seven years to complete this investigation, despite the media having documented, as early as 2014, many of the most serious allegations and evidence of corruption traversed," Lewis said.

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