I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Premier of Gauteng, Mr David Makhura and the ANC government for giving me the opportunity to serve my Country and the people of Gauteng. I have been in the public service, without blemish, for the past 20 years, privileged to also serve as a Member of the Executive Council for the last twelve and half years. In this period, I have grown immensely and I am truly grateful.
I have read the report of the Health Ombudsman relating to the circumstances surrounding the deaths of patients transferred from Life Esidimeni to various NGOs in the Gauteng Province, whose contents I note. In this communication, I propose not to raise issue with its findings or recommendations.
For the record, the origin of the investigation by the Health Ombudsman was initiated by me upon the realization that one death was one too many. To that end, I contacted the National Minister of Health requesting him to consider the appointment of the Health Ombudsman to look into this matter as we were very concerned about the unfortunate turn of events.
Whereas the Health Ombudsman has not found any culpability on my part for the unfortunate loss of lives by the patients; accepting that the de-institutionalisation of mental health patients is a sound and internationally recognized programme, I want to reiterate my regret at the loss of lives associated with the transfer of patients from Life Esidimeni to the various NGOs and extend my condolences to the bereaved families. I support every initiative intended to assist and support the families.
These deaths occurred under my leadership as the MEC responsible for Health and I take political accountability as the final authority in the Department. For that reason, it is apposite that I tender my resignation as the MEC for Health in Gauteng.
I wish to express my gratitude to the Health professionals and managers in the Department whom I have been privileged to work with, whose professional advice, I, at all material times, respected and accepted. I thus wish them well and hope they continue to serve the people of Gauteng with diligence and devotion. I would like to thank everyone who gave me support, motivation, advice and prayers through and through and I am indebted to each and everyone of them.