Opposition using Esidimeni tragedy to discredit provincial govt, says Makhura

'The game of politics is being played in a way that is not desirable.'

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has formally washed his hands of the responsibility of the deaths more than 100 mentally ill patients.

Makhura said the transfer of mental health patients from Life Esidimeni to NGOs that operated unlawfully was never sanctioned by the provincial executive council or himself.

Responding to the debate of his State of the Province address in the Gauteng Legislature on Friday, Makhura said the provincial government wants closure for the families of more than 100 mentally ill patients who died after they were transferred last year.

“Further work is being undertaken to ensure that there is accountability for all the mental health patients who were moved from Life Esidimeni, including the circumstances under which they have died,” he said. “The process of ensuring political accountability has only started.

“We will get to the bottom of this matter to understand what went wrong and what could have been done to prevent this.”

On Thursday, opposition parties used the debate of Makhura’s State of the Province address to attack Makhura as the debacle surrounding the deaths of psychiatric patients refuses to die down.

The premier hit back at opposition parties on Friday, accusing them of using the deaths to achieve their calculated political objective of discrediting the provincial government.

“The game of politics is being played in a way that is not desirable,” Makhura said. “The opposition’s job, it is said, is to bring the government down.”

Makhura admitted youth unemployment remained a crisis and that crime was out of control.

“We agree that we need extraordinary and unconventional means to intervene to solve this crisis,”Makhura said.

“We need extraordinary measures to restore public confidence in the ability of law enforcement agencies to deal with crime.”

Makhura pleaded with all political parties in the legislature to work together to address issues that matter for the people.

“We cannot boast about who is going to win the 2019 elections,” Makhura said.

“Why don’t we leave the issue of who will govern after 2019 to the citizens?”

The DA is confident it will wrestle the ANC from power in 2019.

Makhura condemned xenophobic violence and intimidation in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

He called on all political parties to do whatever they could to stop the xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals.


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