At the end of his submission to Life Esidimeni alternative dispute resolution hearings held at Emoyeni Centre in Parktown chaired by retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, Premier David Makhura apologised:
“I have faced you before on a number of occasions to apologise, I know apologising can not bring back those who are no more. As head of government in the province I could have done more to doubt and question. I apologise that something like this happened under my watch and that is why I keep coming back to you, ngingowenu.
“I can’t run away from you. I belong to you. That is why I came here to face you again to say you have suffered there has been a lot of pain which continues today. It is painful when you don’t hear the truth. I humble myself before you, ngiyazithoba, kea ikokobetsa. I will continue to apologise while I work with you to ensure you heal. The best way is to make sure you get answers. It has been difficult to get answers.
“But I am confident we will get answers someday soon. I made this commitment at Freedom Park that I, of all the things I am doing, I would like to make sure that when my term of office ends in 2019 I can say this sad chapter in the history of our country happened when I was premier of Gauteng. I can say I dedicated time and energy to make sure the families heal
“Families have been very graceful. Many of these families I have talked to them during December 15 prayer session, healing session, family committee, at church in Attredgeville, they are kind-hearted people. It breaks my heart that something so bad happened. They are not reciprocating. I have never felt that they are fighting me back. Rev Maboe always prays for us. Christine works with the committee, her sister and deceased daughter passed on.
“It breaks my heart that we have failed them the way we did. As a leader I can only commit myself to fix the system. Not only the health system, but the whole system. For the remainder of my term I want to fix the relationship with civil society. I would like to say to the families, ek vra omverskoning. In Venda, ndo khuombela pfarelo for what the government I lead did. We will never return those who passed.
“The best monument we can have for them is to fix the mental health system and make it accessible. I will do my best as long as I am the premier. I know families have always been open to work with us. Those officials who say they want to meet families, if they go honestly the families will receive with them. The families are the only ones who can forgive us.
“I hope what was done yesterday and today begins to provide answers. I take the opportunity to recommit that where answers are not given, we will find them. Thank you for working us even when you grove. Rea leboga. Thank you for your kind heartedness.”