We welcome Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s appointment of health ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, tasked with investigating the deaths of 36 psychiatric patients in mental healthcare facilities in Gauteng.
The patients were transferred to the nongovernmental organisations after the cancellation of the state’s contract with Life Esidimeni, allegedly to save costs.
We welcome the probe, but we disagree with Gauteng provincial government’s stance that action can only be taken after the probe has been finalised. As the political head of the provincial health department, MEC Qedani Mahlangu needs to be held accountable and removed from her position so the investigation can go on without undue influence on her part. This cannot happen while she still holds office.
That she remains in her position is a slap in the face to those who died and their relatives, who expect nothing but swift justice in this matter. Premier David Makhura needs to demonstrate true commitment to accountability by replacing Mahlangu with someone who will place the lives and dignity of citizens above everything else.