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Matsoso: Qedani Mahlangu must be held accountable for Esidimeni tragedy

Health Ministry’s DG Precious Matsoso gave shocking details about the conditions of NGOs where psychiatric patients were housed after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Esidimeni group.

Health Department Director-General Precious Matsoso. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Health Ministry’s Director-General says that the resignation by former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu is just not enough, adding that she must be held accountable by law for the Esidimeni tragedy.

Precious Matsoso’s testimony wrapped up at the arbitration hearing in Parktown on Thursday.

She gave shocking details about the conditions of NGOs where psychiatric patients were housed after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Esidimeni group.

One hundred and eighteen patients died as a result of being moved to the unlawful NGOs.

Friday marks the end of the first week of the Esidimeni arbitration process.

A week that has been filled with admissions, emotional apologies by health officials, shocking revelations about the state of NGOs where more than 100 mentally ill people died and an expose of what is seemingly a web of deceit and lies.

An apologetic Motsoso says that she fully agrees that Mahlangu should be brought in to take account of her part in the tragedy.

“Yes, if we’re accountable, she should be subjected to the full force of the law in this country. She has to account, she has to.”

Bereaved families have called for Mahlangu to be subpoenaed to testify in this process.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke asked Matsoso whether she was okay as she cried while testifying.

“Do you want us to take a short adjournment? It may be that you need to catch your breath.”

Matsoso then told a story of a family member who called and told her that she had investigated and found that her loved one had been taken to a butchery and not an NGO.

“When she asked where her relative was, she was told her relative was at a facility in Saulsville. She said she knew Saulsville very well and the facility referred to was a butchery.”

She says she immediately left a family event on that Saturday to probe the matter herself and found that the address was actually for a mortuary.

Two weeks of testimony remain.

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