Oversight committee to probe Makhura's role in Esidimeni deaths: DA

Gauteng Premier David Makhura during a media briefing by the Health Ombudsman to announce the final report on the Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients’ deaths on February 01, 2017 in Pretoria. Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla

JOHANNESBURG - A Democratic Alliance proposal has been accepted by the Gauteng legislature’s oversight committee on the premier’s office and legislature (Ocpol) to probe the role of premier David Makhura’s office in the deaths of 94 mental health patients after they were transferred to unlicensed NGOs, the party said on Sunday.

READ: Families of deceased Esidimeni mentally ill patients cry for justice

“At the Ocpol meeting last week on Friday I pointed out that on page 30 of the Health Ombud’s report on the matter the following claim is made by Dr Barney Selebano, the head of the Gauteng health department,” DA MPL Jack Bloom said.

“… the decision to start deinstitutionalisation of mental health care users from Life Healthcare Esidimeni was undertaken in the office of the premier of Gauteng the honourable David Makhura together with the HoD,” Selebano had stated.

READ: Mahlangu not only one responsible for Esidimeni deaths: EFF

This claim needed to be investigated as well as the failure of the premier’s office and the premier himself to effectively monitor the disastrous transfer of patients that led to the deaths, Bloom said.

There had been a plethora of media reports on the plight of the patients and complaints by the relatives, as well as two court applications where the premier was cited as a respondent. It was not credible that the premier and his office were unaware of the problems and the need for swift intervention.

“The premier also needs to account why he did not fire health MEC Qedani Mahlangu after she disclosed in response to my questions in the legislature on 13 September 2016 that 36 patients had died,” Bloom said.

African News Agency

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