Life Esidimeni: I feel personally betrayed, says Motsoaledi

2018-02-01 05:54
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (File, Netwerk24)

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (File, Netwerk24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg – Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says he feels personally betrayed by what happened with the Gauteng marathon project which resulted in the death of 144 Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients.   

"I feel people have been betrayed and I also felt betrayed as the Minister of Health. This has tarnished the health system of the country," Motsoaledi said on Wednesday. 

Motsoaledi was testifying during the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing in Parktown, Johannesburg. 

He shed tears during as he testified and said that the project should never have happened.

"It is quite painful and whoever did that must be charged," he said. 

"I have never seen such dubious characters," he said, adding that the provincial health department needs to be overhauled completely.

The marathon project involved moving psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni to various ill-equipped NGOs across the province after the health department terminated its contract with the facility.

This resulted in the death of 144 patients due to dehydration and malnutrition, among other reasons listed by Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba.

READ: It happened under my watch, says Makhura

Motsoaledi told the arbitration hearing that the marathon project went beyond embarrassment and added that he was unable to shed light on what happened.

Motsoaledi said he had sent instructions that the affected NGOs must be closed down to prevent more people from dying.

"I was getting tired of people who actually receive bad treatment from health care facilities," he said. 

He said he would have gone to court to stop patients from being moved. 

"If I had known this disaster would happen, I would have done a lot. I would have [gone] to court.

"[In] hindsight, I [should] have advised the DG to have an order of court."

Asked by Legal Aid advocate Lilla Crouse if he knew why the project had happened, he said: "I have been asking myself the same question for 18 months. There's a lot of criminality in this whole thing. In Parliament they asked if the motive was money...I'm puzzled. I honestly don't know."

"There was a clear intention that officials wanted to hide this from the minister and the premier. But for what reason?"

The hearing is to resume on February 8 and 9 for closing arguments.

Read more on:    life esidimeni  |  aaron motsoaledi  |  johannesburg  |  health

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.