Makhura faces 2nd motion of no confidence over Life Esidimeni

Gauteng Premier David Makhura at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)
Gauteng Premier David Makhura at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Johannesburg - The DA has filed a notice of intent to bring a motion of no confidence against Gauteng Premier David Makhura and his entire cabinet over the Life Esidimeni tragedy. 

DA MPL Jack Bloom told News24 that the party was hoping that the motion would be tabled in April.

He said that the motion, which was tabled by DA Gauteng leader John Moody, was related to findings of former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke during the arbitration hearings released on Monday.

Bloom was instrumental in exposing the Life Esidimeni tragedy - which resulted in the deaths of 144 mentally ill patients at unlicensed NGOs - in the provincial legislature. 

Moseneke gave the South African government three months to compensate the families. The compensation is in excess of R1m for each claimant.

He slammed government - particularly former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, former Gauteng health department head Dr Barney Selebano and former Gauteng director of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela - for the manner in which they handled the Gauteng mental health marathon project.

Moseneke also said that he would hand over his report to the police for criminal investigations. 

During his testimony at the arbitration hearings in January, Makhura said that he was assured by Mahlangu and Selebano that the department had the capacity to house patients at state facilities.

Makhura added that, knowing what he knows now, he would have intervened.

'I don't find his ignorance credible'

Bloom, however, said Makhura should have intervened earlier and fired Mahlangu when she disclosed that 32 patients had died. 

"The premier claims he didn’t know they were going to NGOs. He said, had he known they were going to NGO’s he would have never approved it, but there were media reports, two court cases on the matter and he was there when I asked Mahlangu about the patients. We are focusing on his supposed ignorance. I don’t find his ignorance credible," he said. 

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo told News24 that they had completed 45 dockets, which had been handed over to NPA.

"The National Director of Public Prosecutions now has to decide if there is reasonable cause to proceed with criminal investigations," Naidoo said. 

Makhura is facing the second motion of no confidence against him over the tragedy. Last year, the EFF tabled a motion, supported by the DA, over his involvement in the Life Esidimeni deaths. 

Read: 'Please learn from this horror' - EFF tells Makhura

He survived the motion with the backing of his party, which constitutes the majority in the legislature. 

Officials at the office of the premier were not immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng ANC said it was disgusted, but not surprised, by the "reckless, irresponsible and opportunistic" accusation made by Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.

'Cheap attempt to exploit the deep wounds'

EWN reported on comments made by Maimane on Wednesday while unveiling a plaque at the Talisman Foundation in Johannesburg in honour of those who were killed in the Sharpeville Massacre.

Also read: 'They should be in prison' - No closure in Life Esidimeni tragedy until those responsible appear in court, says Maimane

Maimane reportedly said: "Through the provincial leader of Gauteng will be tabling a motion of no confidence in David Makhura and we will continue with the criminal prosecution that is going against all of those who are responsible.

"We cannot, today, in a democratic South Africa, allow people to murder our people. They did so in Marikana, they’re doing so here in Gauteng. What kind of ANC is this that murders our people?"

ANC provincial spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said: "This false accusation, together with the call for a motion of no confidence to be tabled against the Premier of Gauteng David Makhura, is nothing but a cheap attempt to exploit the deep wounds and pain suffered by affected families and patients following the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

"Maimane's reckless utterances come after the widely welcomed announcement made by the Arbitrator, retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, on the equitable redress to the families."

Modiba said the Health Ombudsman's report did not find Makhura guilty of any wrongdoing.

"Instead, the Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and former Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke acknowledged the cooperation and honesty displayed by Makhura, the current Health MEC Comrade Gwen Ramokgopa and Finance MEC Comrade Barbara Creecy when giving testimony during the arbitration process," said Modiba.  

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