In a surprise twist, the DA is calling on Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to appoint former public protector Thuli Madonsela to ensure a fair settlement for the relatives of the 94 psychiatric patients who died in the care of NGOs ill-equipped to handle their needs.
The opposition said on Monday the provincial government had suffered a crisis of credibility over the deaths and needed to appoint someone with a high profile to get redress and compensation for the relatives.
“The Democratic Alliance supports this approach, which avoids long, drawn-out legal proceedings,” DA Gauteng shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom said.
“It could also be a more satisfactory and speedy alternative to a class action lawsuit.
“We believe that former public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela has the necessary moral authority and support to ensure that there is a fair settlement for the relatives. That includes financial compensation, while bearing in mind that no amount of money can recompense for the loss of a loved one.
“We hope that she can spare some time from her current sabbatical at Harvard University.
“Otherwise, someone else with a similar reputation for integrity and independence should be appointed.”
In a damning report released last week, health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba recommended that Makhura and Motsoaledi contact all the affected families and individuals.
The report prompted health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to resign unexpectedly.
Meanwhile, the ANC in Gauteng cautioned against using the tragedy for political point-scoring. ANC Gauteng provincial secretary Hope Papo said the provincial executive committee had resolved that Mahlangu should appear before the ANC Gauteng provincial integrity committee to give a full account of the matter.