The African National Congress (ANC) is condoning “the most heinous acts” perpetrated under former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu’s watch, the Life Esidimeni families’ committee said on Tuesday.
Mahlangu was re-elected to the Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) at the weekend. Mahlangu resigned as the MEC early last year following the Life Esidimeni tragedy‚ which happened under her watch.
More than 140 psychiatric patients died after the department she headed transferred 1 700 patients from the Life Esidimeni facility to NGOs that lacked resources in 2016.
Newly-elected Gauteng ANC chairperson David Makhura defended Mahlangu’s election, but said the concerns around her alleged involvement with the tragedy would be dealt with within the party.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the families said they were “shocked and outraged” at the re-election of Mahlangu to the PEC.
“We firmly believe that if someone is implicated in mismanagement and negligent or intentional decision making that leads to a tragedy on the scale of Life Esidimeni, they should not be eligible for election. In allowing Mahlangu to participate in their PEC, the ANC is effectively condoning the most heinous acts perpetrated under Mahlangu’s watch. The election to the PEC represents another instance where Mahlangu appears to evade accountability with the assistance of the ANC,” the families said.
The families also said they awaited the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to finalise the Esidimeni dockets.
“The memories of those who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy have been dishonoured and trivialised by Mahlangu’s re-election, and the Life Esidimeni family committee, on behalf of the families, will not rest until she is removed and is brought to justice,” the committee said.