The Democratic Alliance yesterday called on the Gauteng provincial government to pursue legal action against officials implicated in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which claimed 144 lives of mentally ill patients.
The party is demanding that the officials personally pay a share of the R159 million awarded to relatives of the victims.
In stepping up the pressure on those fingered – former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu; head of department Barney Selebano; and former chief director Makgabo Manamela – DA shadow health MEC Jack Bloom has sent letters to Premier David Makhura and health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, giving the ANC-led Gauteng 60 days to take legal action.
Bloom said: “According to the Apportionment of Damages Act 34 of 1956 … the Act provides that a party that has been found liable in a civil claim, and has paid this claim in full, can act to recover from those who were also liable to recover a contribution for their fair share of what has been paid.
“Last month the provincial government paid R159.46 million to 134 claimants in terms of the arbitration award by justice Dikgang Moseneke …”
He added that taxpayers “should not have to pay for the egregious misconduct of government officials, and that the perpetrators should pay from their own pockets to cover the damage they caused”.