JOHANNESBURG, February 2 (ANA) – The Economic Freedom Fighters will on Thursday lay criminal charges against embattled former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, Premier David Makhura and the non-governmental organisations fingered in the death of 94 mentally ill patients in the province.
The party has also called on Makhura to step down in the wake of the damning report by Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba that sent shock waves across the country.
“If Qedani Mahlangu’s resignation is a sign that she genuinely regrets her actions, she must hand herself over to the nearest police station for murder and negligence. Otherwise, her resignation must be seen as avoiding the real responsibility of the massacre,” said EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.
“The entire Gauteng ANC must hang their heads in shame for this massacre; they must step down if they genuinely mean the fact that they as government take full responsibility.”
Makgoba revealed on Wednesday that in contrast to a figure of 36 fatalities given by Mahlangu in the provincial legislature last year, at least 94 psychiatric patients out of 1300 had died between March and December 2016, after they were moved from the department’s contractor, Life Esidimeni, to several non-government organisations in the province.
According to the report, the patients were transferred to NGOs that lacked basic competence and experience. They also did not have the leadership capacity to care for mentally ill patients and were operating under invalid licenses. The number could have risen as the rest of the patients remain at the NGOs.
Makgoba’s investigation found that the death of only patient was a consequence of mental illness, while the causes of death of the other 93 include malnutrition, heart attacks and diarrhea.
Mahlangu resigned on Wednesday, on the eve of the release of the report. She would be replaced by incumbent Deputy Minister of Health, Gwen Ramokgopa. She is a medical doctor and a former mayor of the City of Tshwane. She previously served as Gauteng Health MEC from 1999 to 2006.
EFF Gauteng leaders would lay criminal charges at the Johannesburg central police station.
– African News Agency (ANA)
PHOTO: Gauteng Premier David Makhura with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi at Wednesday’s media briefing. Picture: ANA