News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
28 Nov 2017
1:32 pm

Makhura ducks Life Esidimeni questions in Gauteng legislature

Gosebo Mathope

The premier said together with the health minister and the health MEC, they decided who would appear at the hearings, not as witnesses but to 'give their side of the story'.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura responds to oppostion parties questions on his SOPA address speech at Gauteng Legislature in Johannesburg, 24 February 2017. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Answering a question from DA shadow MEC of health in the province Jack Bloom in the provincial legislature this morning, Gauteng Premier David Makhura could not directly answer why former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu was not on the original list of witnesses at the Esidimeni arbitration hearings.

He said that as representatives of the state, which included himself, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, they decided who would appear at the hearings not as witnesses, but to “give their side of the story and answer questions”.

Makhura also did not comment on why Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) had given Mahlangu leave of absence to study abroad over this period.

When it was pointed out that ANC chief whip Brian Hlongwa had said in an interview on Power FM that he had spoken to Qedani Mahlangu and told her to “leave the country, going into exile for two years”, Makhura dismissed as “fairytale” suggestions that ANC Gauteng PEC did not want Mahlangu to testify at the hearings, as it would discredit them before the elective conference.

Jack Bloom outside Johannesburg Central Police Station Picture: Thembelihle Mkhonza

Jack Bloom outside Johannesburg Central Police Station Picture: Thembelihle Mkhonza

Reacting to Makhura’s responses, Bloom said he was “skeptical” on the “claim that everything was being done to ensure that the families of the deceased patients can receive closure through the arbitration process”.

During his response, Makhura mentioned that the intention was that the alternative dispute resolution process, or the arbitration hearings, would be concluded in October 2017, but the absence of the former health MEC has delayed this to next year.

Delivering her medium-term budget in the legislature earlier this month, finance MEC Barbara Creecy allocated an additional R24 million to the office of the premier, more than R13 million of which has been given to the Esidimeni arbitration. According to the budget, the amount will cover the venue, transport, catering and other costs.

“Makhura should have ensured that Mahlangu was on the original list of witnesses, as he surely could not have thought that the families of the Esidimeni victims would have been satisfied without hearing from her as the key instigator in this matter. Meanwhile, the families continue to suffer because the prolongation of the hearings could have been avoided,” Bloom said.

http://https://www.citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/1735211/midweek-reflections-gauteng-anc-pec-esidimeni-and-ignorantia-juris-non-excusat/

You can follow the author @Gosebo_Mathope or email gosebom@citizen.co.za

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