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Health minister 'distressed' & 'angry' following Esidimeni report

Aaron Motsoaledi says it would be an understatement to say he’s embarrassed after the report into the deaths of 94 patients.

Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba (left) joined by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi (second left) give feedback on the Life Esidimeni patients' deaths. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says it would be an understatement to say he’s embarrassed following a report into the deaths of 94 psychiatric patients who were transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni to other NGOs.

The Health Ombudsman on Wednesday made damning findings against former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and other health officials.

Mahlangu resigned from her position on the eve of the release of the report and says she accepts political accountability for the deaths.

Professor Malegapuru Makgoba says he found negligence, recklessness and appalling conditions at the NGOs the patients were moved to to be the main factor in the case.

“Several human rights violations took place, I’ve also listed a series of close to 15 actions and decisions I’ve classified as negligent, reckless and they are decisions and actions that were either taken by the MEC or head of department, or jointly.”

Motsoaledi says he’s angry.

“I’m not embarrassed, I’m distressed and angry actually – it goes beyond embarrassment.”

This was Makgoba’s very first report since he took office in the capital.

Life Esidimeni: How the tragedy unfolded

A timeline of the events leading up to deaths of 94 psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni, and the subsequent investigations.

FAMILY MEMBERS RESPOND
Chritina Nxumalo's 50-year-old sister was one of the 94 psychiatric patients who died.

She on Wednesday said she is far from feeling vindicated but is satisfied with Makgoba's findings.

“I am happy, I was worried that the ombudsman was going to be nice and play nice.”

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said he will not tolerate any shifting of responsibility and that action will be taken soon.

“I want to emphasise that there can be no passing of the buck to junior officials.”

Read the Health Ombudsman's full report below:

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)