Life Esidimeni: All leaders to blame

OPINIONNkutšoeu Motsau
OPINIONNkutšoeu Motsau

The recently concluded enquiry re: Life Esidimeni Arbitration, which was ably guided by the former Deputy Chief Justice and Robben Island inmate— Justice Dikgang Moseneke— laid bare the uncaring and cruel attitude of the ruling party towards the most vulnerable of our society; mental health patients.

Gauteng Premier David Makhure and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, were the last to testify.

Both tendered unconditional apologies for the bereaved for a tragedy that took place under their watch.

Both gallantly accepted ultimate responsibility for the morass.

That was not enough, though, even with the tears rolling down their cheeks.

They still have to fall on their swords. Democracy demands it. Falling on their swords is not equivalent to committing suicide. It is a guarantee that they will not be able to find themselves in the same situation again.

As matters now stand, it is possible that they can find themselves in a similar situation again. The correct and honourable thing to do for them is to resign.

The heads must start to roll for all those who are immediately below the premier and in the Department of Health; the MEC, the HOD, the Director and the rest. The law must take its course.

The Treasurer of Gauteng province says about R47 million has been used to pay the NGOs. Every cent must be accounted for.

We have seen it all before. They started it a long time ago, during Thabo Mbeki’s time; the Travelgate saga, when Members of Parliament were given air tickets to travel to Parliament and back home. Many of them abused this facility.

Members of Parliament colluded with travel agents to defraud Parliament. Parliament had to cough up to R37 million for fraudulent travel air tickets. This was done by Members of Parliament, ex officio commissioners-of-oath and lawmakers.

Thabo Mbeki used to complain about people (members of the ruling party) who were fighting for control of the state resources for personal gain.

It was the beginning of the era of tenderpreneurship. Now a person would win a tender to build RDP houses, instead, he would pocket the money and disappear in the distant horizon.

Others did such a terrible job of it, some of those houses are being rebuilt today. Then they went for state owned enterprises. The scorpions were disbanded. Large-scale looting of the state followed. Corruption involving Jacob Zuma started with Shabir Sheikh and culminated with the Guptas; state capture if you like.

Today we hear about kickbacks and bribery on a daily basis. You pay a bribe rather than pay a traffic fine. You buy a driver’s license rather than go for a test. Now we hear how people, human beings, were treated like cattle at an auction. NGOs were irregularly issued with fraudulent licences and paid to take care of people they were not qualified to look after. Some of the patients died and the NGOs continued to draw funds in their name. Some patients died of starvation and dehydration because the NGOs were not paid so they could look after them. As a matter of fact, they were not supposed to be carted off to NGOs according to the plan presented to the Premier’s Budget Council, but had to be integrated into state institutions.

Yet, money was released to pay the NGOs. See what you can make of this!

.Nkutšoeu Motsau is the Chairperson of Azanla MVA. He writes in his own capacity.

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