Opposition parties call for criminal charges against Qedani Mahlangu over death of psychiatric patients

By Drum Digital
01 February 2017

The DA and EFF have called for criminal charges to be laid against former Gauteng Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, for the death of psychiatric patients.

DA Gauteng spokesperson for Health, Jack Bloom is calling for heads to roll after the announcement of the resignation of Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

The Da has called Mahlangu’s actions as deceitful after there was a major cover-up on the actual number of patients who died after being transferred from Life Healthcare’s Esidimeni private home to 27 unlicensed NGOs, last year.

“There was a cover-up of lies and deceit in the department that is supposed to save lives, not be the cause of people’s deaths,” he says.

Bloom tells DRUM that he likens the death of the patients to that of the mine workers who died in Marikana under the leadership of the ANC.

“The deaths are much higher than Marikana and we wouldn’t like to see anyone get off the hook. The whole thing was illegal and contravened many acts,” he adds.

The Economic Freedom Fighters has also called this a “massacre”. Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says Mahlangu must be charged criminally.

“If Qedani Mahlangu's resignation is a sign that she genuinely regrets her actions, she must hand herself over to the nearest police station for murder and negligence. Otherwise, her resignation must be seen as avoiding the real responsibility of the massacre,” he says.

Bloom says Mahlangu’s resignation is not enough.

“The MEC has resigned but it can’t be the end of the story. There are 11 senior officials who have been named in the report and disciplinary actions must be taken against them but criminal charges must also be laid against them,” he adds.

The EFF has also called for Gauteng Premier David Makhura to step down, saying the entire Gauteng ANC government should “hang their heads in shame”.

Bloom says the entire tragedy could have been avoided.

Mahlangu resigned on Wednesday amid the release of a report by the health ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba that looked into the death of the 94 psychiatric patients.

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