Health Minister still waiting for Esidimeni Appeals Tribunal report

2017-06-13 22:22
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (Netwerk24)

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is yet to receive a report from a tribunal he appointed to process appeals against the Health Ombudsman’s findings of the Life Esidimeni deaths.

"We aware that the tribunal is doing its work and we are expecting that, as soon as they finish, they will give the minister the report with recommendations and he can map out a way forward," his spokesperson Joe Maila said on Tuesday.

Earlier, the DA expressed concerns about the tribunal missing its deadline to submit a report to Motsoaledi. The minister appointed the independent ad hoc tribunal on March 13. It was given two months to do its work.

He appointed retired Judge President of the High Court in Pretoria, Bernard Ngoepe, to head it. Brian Robertson, a retired professor of psychiatry at the University of Cape Town, and Hoosen Coovadia, a retired professor of paediatrics at the University of Natal, were appointed to help him.

On February 1, Health Ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba revealed that at least 94 patients died after being moved from the Life Esidimeni facilities to 27 non-government organisations in Gauteng in 2016. It subsequently emerged that over 100 patients died.

They died of thirst, hunger, and cold. The department cancelled Life Esidimeni's contract as part of cost-cutting measures. Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu stepped down in the wake of the scandal.

A few weeks later, Makgoba told Parliament's portfolio committee on health that the death toll would continue to rise.

Makgoba said his office was continuing to receive data from the public since his report on the disastrous move was made public.

His findings included that the 27 NGOs were under-resourced, under-financed and ill-equipped to take on the influx of psychiatric patients.

DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said the reason for the tribunal missing its deadline, according to the health department, was because of the amount of work involved.
It was important that the tribunal concluded its work as soon as possible so that disciplinary action against implicated officials could proceed, he said.

"The police should also conclude the post-mortems and inquests so that criminal charges can proceed. Unnecessary delays compound the injury suffered in this whole matter where justice needs to be done," Bloom added. 

Read more on:    life esidimeni  |  aaron motsoaledi  |  health

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