Former Gauteng health MEC to face ANC integrity commission

Qedani Mahlangu. (Image supplied)
Qedani Mahlangu. (Image supplied)

Johannesburg - Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu will face the ANC’s integrity commission to account for her role in the deaths of 94 mentally ill patients.

The ANC’s Gauteng executive committee said on Monday that it was shocked by the deaths and would ensure that the Health Ombudsman’s remedial actions were implemented to ensure something similar did not happen again.

The committee held its first meeting of the year last weekend.

Mahlangu resigned last week, shortly before Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba announced that at least 94 mentally ill patients had died after the Gauteng health department transferred about 2 000 of them from the Life Esidimeni facility to 27 unlicensed NGOs, to cut costs.

Makgoba said on Wednesday that he found that the patients had died of cold, hunger and a general lack of care.

The committee forced the ANC Youth League to withdraw its statement calling for Gauteng Premier David Makhura to step down, to withdraw the criminal case it had opened against Mahlangu, and to retract its remarks questioning the competence of ANC Gauteng provincial deputy secretary Gwen Ramokogpa. She was appointed to replace Mahlangu.

"The PEC agreed with the ANC national media statement, particularly the observation that the utterances and actions of the ANC Youth League Gauteng province were reckless and unbefitting of ANC members," Gauteng ANC secretary Hope Papo said in a statement.

The PEC expressed its support for Makhura, despite calls from opposition parties that he step down in the wake of the tragedy.

The PEC commended Makhura for the "openness and urgency" with which he was dealing with the ombudsman’s report and his commitment to implementing the remedial action, Papo said.

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