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PARLIAMENT - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi addressed the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon on the deaths of more than 100 mentally ill patients.
Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned after the tragedy became public. She was one of 12 officials implicated in the health ombudsman’s report.
She has since been replaced by Gwen Ramokgopa.
During his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma's speech was interrupted by members of the DA who wanted to observe a minute's silence for the victims.
Zuma addressed the issue when he replied to debate on his speech. He sent his condolences to the victims' families and warned that the tragedy shouldn't be used to score political points.
Since then the SA Human Rights Council has appeared before Parliament's health portfolio committee where opposition parties criticised the institution for not doing enough to prevent the deaths.
On Thursday DA MP James Wilmot asked Motsoaledi when he had been informed about the Esidemeni deaths.
“The question to the minister is this, why were you the most powerful and alert individuals not aware of this unfolding tragedy when it happened? It took the DA's Jack Bloom to extract mortality figures from MEC Qedani Mahlangu as if they were state secrets.
"The DG of Health knew there was a serious problem in January 2016, but after a court order in favour of Gauteng health , she let it go. Why is it that neither she nor you madec it your business to find out?”
Susan Thembakwayo from the EFF lashed out at the ANC government for "having no respect" for citizens.
"The reality of the matter is more than 100 South Africans who had the misfortune of being mentally ill perished at the hands of the democratic state. More astoundingly, the ANC government -- as was the case when it murdered people in Marikana -- refuses to take responsibility. It is not enough that [MEC] Qedani Mahlangu resigned. It's not enough that the ANC comes here to offer half-cooked apologies," she said.