Makhura’s role in mental patient deaths to be probed - DA

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Netwerk24)
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Netwerk24)

Johannesburg - The role of Gauteng Premier David Makhura in the deaths of 94 mental health patients is set to be investigated during an oversight committee meeting, the DA said on Sunday.

"Makhura can expect tough questioning at the next OCPOL meeting which should be held within the next two weeks," said DA MPL Jack Bloom in a statement.

He said that the Oversight Committee on the Premier's Office and Legislature (OCPOL) had agreed to the meeting, in accordance with a reference made in the report to the office of the premier, and its role in the matter.

"It is simply not credible that the Premier and his office were unaware of the problems and the need for swift intervention," said Bloom.

A time-line of the decision making process behind the decision to transfer patients from Life Healthcare Esidemeni to various unlicensed NGOs has also been requested.

"I have also requested that the Premier and senior officials should appear before the committee for questions."

On Thursday, EFF members of the provincial legislature laid 94 charges of murder against Makhura and former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

The MEC resigned shortly after the release of a report by Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, who found that nearly 80% of the patients had died between March and December 2016 after the department cancelled its contract with Esidemeni as part of cost-cutting measures.

In the aftermath of Makgoba’s damming report, the Democratic Alliance, Cope and the ANCYL have called for Makhura to step down.

The families of those who died are also considering legal action.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the DA also released another statement in which it voiced its support for an investigation by the SA Human Rights Commission to take place.

"We must learn from the unnecessary deaths of 94 South Africans and ensure that it does not happen again," said MP Wilmot James.

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