DA Gauteng shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom has called on Gauteng Premier David Makhura to “find” former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in order for her to testify at the Life Esidimeni hearings.
The hearings are continuing in Parktown, with retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke being told by various witnesses the former Gauteng health leaders must be held accountable for presiding over the calamity.
Mahlangu resigned a day before health ombudsman Prof Malegapuru Makgoba released his report into the matter.
The report recommended that an inquiry be held to determine the events that led to more than 180 patients passing away after they were discharged from Life Esidimeni to unlawful NGOs.
Levy Mosenogi, the department’s chief director for planning, policy and research, told the inquiry the transfer of patients was “irrational and rushed”.
When pressed about who instructed him to act irrationally, Mosenogi was decisive and told Moseneke: “The executive, Dr Selebano and Ms Qedani Mahlangu.” Dr Selebano is the suspended head of department.
Morgan Mkhatshwa, a former Life Esidimeni executive, told Moseneke he was shocked when, during a consultative meeting with the department, Mahlangu told her psychiatric patients could sleep under a stove if the facilities they had been transferred to did not have adequate resources.
She also reportedly said Brazil did not have mental health facilities, but was “doing okay”.
Unconfirmed media reports earlier indicated that the ANC-led Gauteng administration could not locate Mahlangu in order to discuss her voluntary appearance at the hearing.
“The current Esidimeni arbitration hearings are revealing harrowing details of the monstrous inhumanity of the deaths of at least 118 mental health patients between June 2016 and February this year. These hearings are intended to result in redress and a healing of the wounds of the bereaved relatives, but this can only happen when the full truth is known.
“The relatives are unanimous that former MEC Qedani Mahlangu needs to appear before justice Dikgang Moseneke in these hearings, as she bears the most responsibility for what happened.
“The state has assembled witnesses that include Premier David Makhura and health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, but have not seen fit to include Qedani Mahlangu. This is an appalling omission,” Bloom said.
During his member statement, Bloom said he was certian there were people within the Gauteng legislature, based in the old Joburg City council chambers in the CBD, who knew where Mahlangu was.
He said Makhura needed to assist urgently to find Mahlangu so she could account for her actions at the arbitration hearings, which are due to conclude by the end of next week.