NEWS

Every Esidimeni Death Will Be Accounted For, Says Health Minister Motsoaledi

You deserve more than an apology, Cope MP tells families.

23/02/2017 19:53 SAST | Updated 23/02/2017 19:55 SAST
Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Demonstrators gathered in February 2017 in front of Gauteng Premier David Makhura's office, protesting the death of psychiatric patients sent from Life Esidimeni hospital to civil society organisations which failed to care for them properly.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has promised that nothing will be swept under the carpet regarding the Esidimeni deaths, and that every death will be accounted for.

The minister was addressing Parliament on the deaths of more than 100 mentally ill patients in Gauteng.

Motsoaledi told MPs that no question would go unanswered regarding the tragedy.

ANC MP Amos Mahlalela said, however, that there was no need for a judicial inquiry, as had been suggested by the Democratic Alliance.

"We are, therefore, convinced that the report of the ombudsman is comprehensive enough and covers all aspects and therefore don't see any necessity for the appointment of a judicial inquiry to conduct further investigation," he said.

He said the health ombudsman was independent and impartial and had performed his work in good faith.

Anyone who was aggrieved with the process could lodge a written appeal with the health minister, Mahlalela said.

He said there was no need to run to the president on the matter.

DA MP Wilmot James called for the minister to use the power he had of legally withholding conditional grants more effectively to exact compliance of provinces in honouring the national health laws, as long as they did not compromise access to health.

"He pussyfoots too much around ANC intra-party sensitivities in the provinces," James said.

'You deserve more than an apology'

Congress of the People MP Willie Madisha said the entire system had failed the families of the dead patients.

"I want to say to the families and victims, you deserve more than an apology – and not just an apology – but action."

He said that even the Human Rights Commission was complicit in the tragedy, which was "neither an accident or a natural catastrophe".

Agang MP Andries Plouamma said Gauteng Premier David Makhura had practically killed the patients off before they were even dead.

"We are all humiliated by this act of barbarism. It was embarrassing and shameful when the premier donned a sack of cloth and flagellated himself like the Pharisees," he said.

Gauteng was not in good hands, Plouamma said.

"Even Adolf Hitler would have patted the premier on his back."

News24