DA playing political football with Life Esidimeni tragedy – Hope Papo

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Mduduzi Ndzingi, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Mduduzi Ndzingi, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

The ANC has already dismissed a DA motion of no confidence in its Gauteng premier David Makhura, which is scheduled to be debated on Tuesday, describing it as frivolous, attention-seeking and bad politics.

"When they attempt to use a tragedy like Life Esidimeni, it's bad politics. To ride Life Esidimeni into the 2019 elections where people died, is bad politics," ANC Gauteng secretary Hope Papo said.

READ: DA to table motion of no confidence in Premier Makhura

He said the ANC and its alliance partners in the province were behind Makhura, and confidently told journalists at the media launch of the ANC's Thuma Mina campaign in Tembisa on Monday, that their members of the provincial legislature would defeat the motion.

The DA tabled the motion, saying it wanted the premier to be removed for his role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which led to the death of 144 mentally ill patients at unregistered and ill-equipped non-governmental organisations.

Officials at the health department and former MEC Qedani Mahlangu were largely blamed for their decision to transfer patients from Life Esidimeni facilities.

Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke ordered that Makhura's government pay R1.2m in compensation to the families of those who died in the tragedy.

READ: Moseneke gives government 3 months to pay more than R1m each to Life Esidimeni families

But Papo said the families of the Life Esidimeni victims needed to be consoled instead of being treated like "a political football".

Makhura, who was also at the event in his capacity as acting ANC provincial chairperson, said he would continue doing his job to lead the province, leaving the issues around the motion to his political party.

"I don't deal with issues of the motion of no confidence. I just do what the ANC wants me to do, what the people of Gauteng want me to do. I just do my job," said Makhura.

The ANC's head of elections Fikile Mbalula also shared his views on the motion, saying they would not just "crush" the motion but "squeeze" it.

"That motion is malicious, frivolous and a waste of time. They are buying space to say that they are relevant," he said about the DA.

'We are fixing people's issues'

Earlier, Mbalula told Tembisa residents that the entire ANC leadership, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, would be back in the township on Friday for the official launch of the campaign.

Through the initiative, the ANC hopes to visit different communities around the country at least three times a month, to hear their different challenges and find ways to resolve them.

"We are fixing people's issues. We don't want Mzwandile [Masina] to build a park here while the people want a swimming pool," said Mbalula of the campaign.

Masina, who is the Ekurhuleni mayor, said his government had around 11 000 title deeds ready to be handed out.

Some in the crowd booed Masina, who was praised by Mbalula for the work he does in different communities in his region.

Residents in his city will also see the ANC government giving out land parcels so that those who are able to build homes for themselves can do so.

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