JOHANNESBURG, May 15 (ANA) – Gauteng Premier David Makhura remains at the helm after a motion of no confidence brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) failed in the provincial legislature on Tuesday.
Thirty-eight members of the provincial legislature (MPLs) voted against the removal of Makhura while 27 voted for the motion, out of a total of 65 votes. There are 72 MPLs in the legislature.
“Six members were absent, and one abstained, and 65 cast their vote,” announced Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe.
The DA’s provincial leader John Moodey brought the motion in the light of the botched transfer of psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni to ill equipped Gauteng non-governmental organisations (NGOs), where more than 140 of them died of negligence and general lack of care.
Moodey called on Makhura to step down saying he and his provincial team failed the patients and their families and contravened Chapter 2 of the Constitution.
The DA’s health spokesman Jack Bloom said the tragedy could have been avoided if the authorities took the warning bells seriously as far back as 2015.
“You ignored the signs of disaster that everyone else could see…as you know, I stoop repeatedly in this house, I showed placards. It might have been theatrical but points were made and none were taken,” said Bloom, who had red-flagged the eminent disaster along with right groups such as Section27.
Earlier, African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Brian Hlongwa accused the DA of trying to “hoodwink” Gauteng residents into believing in their motion.
Hlongwa said the motion was “spurious, frivolous and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserved.”
The attempt by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng to remove Premier David Makhura over the Life Esidimeni tragedy is a cheap political ploy in order to take over the province, said Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa on Tuesday.
“We respect the wishes of the families that this tragedy not be used to score political points. When we reflect on this tragedy we do so with heavy hearts … the DA wants to take over Gauteng at all costs, including trampling on the wish of the families,” she told the legislature during motion of no confidence debate brought against Makhura by the DA.
Makhura has nothing to hide and subjected himself to public scrutiny and appeared before the arbitration hearing, she said.
John Moodey, head of the DA in the province, said Makhura and his executive team contravened chapter 2 of the Constitution in their handling of transferal of psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni to unlicensed NGOs, where over 140 of them died from negligence and general lack of care.
“Gauteng has lost confidence in Makhura and he should be removed from office. He should have done the honourable thing and resigned…144 people were sentenced to their death, treated worse than animals and transported in bakkies,” Moodey said.
He said the resignation by former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu following the scandal was not a noble act, as she was never remorseful.
The debate on the no-confidence motion continues.