Johannesburg – As pressure mounts for former Gauteng MEC of health Qedani Mahlangu to appear at the Life Esidimeni hearings, a group of activists have staged a demonstration outside the London School of Economics where Mahlangu is believed to be studying.
Evidence leader Patrick Ngutshana said on Tuesday that Mahlangu had indicated she would be willing to testify following calls from families of Life Esidimeni patients who had testified at the hearings.
Arbitration hearing chair former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke said the hearings won’t end until Mahlangu, suspended director of mental health Dr Makgoba Manamela, and suspended head of department Dr Tiego Selebano appear before it.
"Let me make it clear, these proceedings will not end until those witnesses… come before this hearing. If they are not here, all three of them, these hearings won’t end," he said.
Ngutshana informed the hearings that Mahlangu had indicated she would be willing to testify at the hearings, but only after the completion of her examinations, believed to be in the next few weeks.
But a quick look at the London School of Economics indicates the university only has examinations in January.
During lunchtime on Tuesday, a group of activists demonstrated outside the London School of Economics to put pressure on the university and Mahlangu to return to South Africa as soon as possible to testify.
Organiser Diarmaid McDonald told News24 the group intended on demanding that Mahlangu takes responsibility.
"We really think she should be on the next plane home and face the families of the 140-odd patients who lost their lives," McDonald said.
"She herself needs to take responsibility and be accountable for her role in [the Life Esidimeni tragedy]," he said.
McDonald said the group felt the London School of Economics should be aware of Mahlangu being a student at the university and her actions that led to the deaths of Life Esidimeni patients.
Meanwhile in a statement the ANC in Gauteng said it has been in discussion with Mahlangu on her availability to appear before the arbitration.
"She indicated that she does not have any problem to appear but was not on the list of witnesses. She has made contact with the office of the Arbitrator to discuss the logistics of appearing," said spokesperson Motalatale Modiba
He said Mahlangu is still an elected member of the provincial executive committee.
"The referral of her matter to the Provincial Integrity Committee is something that is being processed internally," Modiba added.
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