Gauteng to assess all care centres

Monday, February 20, 2017

Randfontein - Learning from the tragic death of mental health patients at Life Esidemeni, the Gauteng province will institute an inspection and condition assessment of all centres that care for the vulnerable.

The wide-ranging inspection and condition assessment will target centres that care for the elderly, people with disabilities and children - whether they are operated by the public, private or NGO sectors.

This was announced by Gauteng Premier David Makhura today during his State of the Province Address on Monday.

“It is our responsibility as the State to care for the weak. Every institution that provides services to the most vulnerable must meet the appropriate standards. We cannot wait for another tragedy before we take wide-ranging action,” Premier Makhura told those gathered at Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein for his address.

The bereaved families of the Life Esidimeni tragedy were also present when the Premier assured restorative justice and healing for those affected by the tragedy.

“I will spend the remainder of my term over the next two years ensuring that there is restorative justice and healing for the families and take every executive action possible to restore confidence in our public health system,” said Premier Makhura.

The Gauteng Provincial Government has been working very closely with a family committee to implement remedial action outlined by the Health Ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, in his report released on 1 February 2017.  

Premier Makhura explained that as the recommendations of the report are being implemented, every step will be guided by the wishes of the families and the advice of the panel of 60 experts appointed by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. 

A Premier’s Mental Health Advisory Panel will also be appointed to assist in this regard, especially in the urgent move which is to relocate the mental health patients to appropriate facilities. 

“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 the Gauteng Department of Health,” the Premier said.

He said the decision to transfer Life Esidimeni patients to NGOs was not made in consultation with the Provincial Executive Council.  

“The Executive Council and I would have never approved a plan to outsource mental health, a primary responsibility of the State to care for the vulnerable in society, to NGOs. What is even worse is the fact that such NGOs didn’t meet the appropriate standards and legal prescripts.”

To honour those who passed on, Premier Makhura announced that the provincial government will erect memorial stones at Freedom Park.

On other health related matters, the Premier said the province is working on a “fresh look” for the public healthcare system in the province.

Headed by the new MEC for Health Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, the drive will place priority on how government is going to inspire all the men and women in the public health system to rise to the occasion and provide quality healthcare.


Turning to education, the Premier said investing in quality public education is the most decisive and sustainable way through which youth can be empowered.

The Gauteng government has invested more than R800 million in bursaries for higher education and set a further target of investing a total of R1 billion in higher education by 2019. 

Over the next three years, an additional amount of R16 million, out of the sale of the Premier’s official residence, has been set aside to fund the cost of tertiary education of 40 academically deserving students.  

In a quest to resolve the issue of overcrowding and infrastructure in the province, the government has built and is continuing to build ICT-enables classrooms. 

“Since 2014, we have built 43 new schools, including new ICT-enabled classrooms in existing schools. In the next two years, we will build 34 new schools, 1 200 laboratories and more than 470 school libraries,” said Premier Makhura.

Townships schools are also becoming centres of academic and educational excellence and redress as they recorded the largest increases in matric passes for 2016. –

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