JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance will lay criminal charges against former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu for her role in the deaths of 94 mentally ill patients.
The party says it will be laying charges including culpable homicide at the Johannesburg Central Police Station at noon on Friday.
Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba on Wednesday revealed that in contrast to a figure of 36 fatalities given by Mahlangu in the Gauteng legislature last year, at least 94 psychiatric patients had died between March and December 2016.
That is after they were moved from the contracted private healthcare facility Life Esidimeni, to several non-governmental organisations in the province.
According to the report, the patients were transferred to NGOs that lacked basic competence and experience.
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health Jack Bloom said in his affidavit Mahlangu is charged with culpable homicide and with contraventions of the Mental Health Care Act (MHCA) and the National Health Act (NHA).
“I have laid these charges as it is important that there are consequences for contraventions of the law by politicians and also because I am not confident that the provincial government will lay similar charges against former MEC Mahlangu,” said Bloom.
“The scale of the deaths and the negligence make this a Medical Marikana that requires accountability from the perpetrators and justice for the victims,” he added.
Mahlangu resigned on Wednesday, on the eve of the release of the report. Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced that she will be replaced by Gwen Ramokgopa.