Justice to be done for Esidimeni victims

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pretoria - Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says no stone will be left unturned in making sure that a full account is given for every person who died after being moved from Life Esidimeni Healthcare in Gauteng.

The Minister said this on Thursday when he appeared before Parliament in Cape Town regarding the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

He said prosecutions will be done without fear or favour.

“Legal proceedings and appropriate administrative action will also be instituted against operating NGOs that were found to be unlawful and where the mental health patients died.”

He said the State employees who were fingered by the Health Ombudsman will face the full might of the law.

“They will not be let off the hook, whoever they are. But the NGOs will also not be let off the hook… This is never ever to be repeated in our beloved country.”

The Minister said the moving of mental health patients from Life Esidimeni to NGOs in Gauteng never came to the National Health Council to be dealt with like all other major events.

He said it was troubling to learn that the idea behind the Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project (which entailed moving patients from Life Esidimeni to NGOs) was to save money.

“I wish to put it on record that at no stage did it emerge, directly or indirectly, implicitly or explicitly, that the Department of Health, nationally or in any province, has run out of money to take care of mentally ill patients.

“There was hence no reason for so many vulnerable people to perish on account of money.”

The Health Minister said moving the patients from Life Esidimeni never featured on any agenda of the Executive Council of Gauteng.

“Gauteng Premier [David Makhura] assures me that at no time was the issue of NGOs ever raised until that fateful day in September when the [Health] MEC made an announcement of 36 deaths in the Provincial Legislature.” - SAnews.gov.za

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