Speaking at the state of the province address on Monday, Makhura said the executive council was not consulted on the matter and even if it was informed, it would have rejected this move.
Makhura: Decision to move Life Esidimeni patients not made in consultation with the provincial council, I would not have approved it #GPSOPA— Sikelelwa Mdingi (@SikiGeyaMdingi) February 20, 2017
Premier Makhura claims he didn't know #Esidimeni psychiatric patients were going to NGOs, but I repeatedly warned this would be a disaster!— Jack Bloom (@JackBloomDA) February 20, 2017
“The executive council and I would have never approved a plan to outsource mental health, a primary responsibility of the state to take care of particularly the most vulnerable in our society. We would never have supported a decision to outsource this to NGOs whether they were licensed or not. What makes this worse is the fact that such NGOs don't meet the standards required,” said Makhura.
More than 100 mental health patients lost their lives after they moved from Life Esidimeni and placed in inadequate facilities. Gauteng MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned following the release of National Health Ombudsman report.
“As the provincial executive, we do not interfere with the appointments of service providers by our various departments. We dare not be found on the other side of the law,” he said.
The Premier apologised to affected families, promising that steps are already in motion to prevent a similar tragedy.
“As the premier of this province, I have publicly stated my deep regret and profuse apology for the tragic death of so many of our vulnerable citizens who were under the care of our provincial department of health,” said Makhura.
Plans underway to build a monument in memory of those who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy #GPSOPA— Sikelelwa Mdingi (@SikiGeyaMdingi) February 20, 2017