As the Democratic Alliance continues to pile pressure on Gauteng Premier David Makhura to remove health MEC Qedani Mahlangu following the deaths of 36 psychiatric patients, the provincial government has called on the opposition party to wait for the health ombudsman’s report.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has asked the health ombudsman to investigate the deaths.
“We must await their report,” said Thabo Masebe, deputy director-general of Gauteng provincial communication services.
Yesterday, the DA in Gauteng launched a “Mahlangu monitor” that will record the days that the health MEC remains in her job after she admitted that 36 psychiatric patients had died in unsuitable NGO premises.
The patients were transferred to the NGOs after the cancellation of the government contract with Life Esidimeni.
Mahlangu disclosed this information in a reply to a question in the legislature last week by DA Gauteng shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom.
“It is now six days and Mahlangu has not resigned or been fired by Premier David Makhura,” Bloom said in a statement.
Mahlangu bore the prime responsibility for the deaths as she stubbornly persisted with a rushed transfer of patients to NGOs despite warnings that they did not have the capacity to care for them, said Bloom.
“This is yet another example of ANC arrogance and lack of feeling for those who suffer from poor governance.”
He said every day Mahlangu remained in office was an insult to those who died and their relatives, who expected swift justice and accountability in this serious matter.
“While the investigations will establish negligence at other levels, it is abundantly clear that Mahlangu shoulders the bulk of the blame for this tragedy that has been compared to the Marikana deaths,” said Bloom.
“Premier David Makhura’s professed commitment to accountability cannot be taken seriously until he fires Mahlangu and replaces her with someone who ensures that the health department treats all patients with dignity and decency.”