/ 17 April 2009

Hlongwa apologises to ANC for ‘I’m too rich’ comment

Gauteng Health Minister Brian Hlongwa has apologised to the African National Congress (ANC) for comments about his wealth, the Star reported on Friday.

”I acknowledge that the ANC is a party that is supported by the poor and the working class, and that the impression created by my statements to the media was unfortunate and in poor taste,” he was quoted as saying.

His apology came after his party distanced itself from comments he made to the Sowetan, published on Thursday. Explaining how he could afford a R7,2-million house in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Hlongwa said he made 10 times more money from his businesses than his salary as a provincial minister.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader in the Gauteng Legislature Jack Bloom had alleged that Hlongwa must have received kickbacks to afford the Bryanston home, as he could not have bought it on his salary of just less than R1-million a year.

”It was an insult for Jack Bloom to insinuate that I bought my house through corruption linked to one of the consulting firms contracted to my department, 3P Consulting,” Hlongwa told the Sowetan.

Rebuking Hlongwa, ANC spokesperson Brian Sokutu said the party was supported by the poor and the working class and that ”making such irresponsible statements where one brags about his wealth, is inconsistent and un-ANC”. — Sapa