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Aaron Motsoaledi: Qedani Mahlangu can appeal Esidimeni report

The health minister says the former MEC and other senior officials in her department can appeal the Health Ombudsman's findings.

FILE: Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - As calls grow for more accountability following the deaths of psychiatric patients in Gauteng, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and other senior officials in her department can appeal the findings of the Health Ombudsman's investigation, adding it can only be done through the High Court.

Mahlangu, who has been slammed for her handling of the matter, resigned from her position hours before the report was released on Wednesday.

Mahlangu, Department of Health head Dr Barney Selebano and Director Dr Makgabo Manamela were found to have been hasty to move over 1,300 patients from the care of Life Healthcare Esidimeni to non-governmental organisations that were not legally permitted to house them.

Motsoaledi says being embarrassed doesn't even begin to describe how he feels about professor Malekgapuru Makgoba's report and the deaths of almost 100 mentally ill patients in Gauteng.

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

Motsoaledi says all those implicated in the report have 30 days to appeal the findings.

“Any person who feels aggrieved must appeal within 30 days to the minister and it must be led by a judge. That’s all I can say. I don’t want to anticipate who is going to appeal and will not.”

Mahlangu, who sent her resignation letter to Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Tuesday night, has declined to confirm whether she will appeal.

She says she’ll wait for other processes to unfold.

Her spokesperson Steve Mabona says she takes full political accountability for the tragedy.

A look at the timeline of the events following the deaths of 94 psychiatric patients from the Life Esidimeni hospital.

POLITICAL PARTIES REACT

Opposition parties have questioned the Gauteng premier's leadership, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) calling for him too to also resign.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Congress of the People (Cope) have likened the deaths to the Marikana massacre, with the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi saying it should be classified as such.

“If Makhura takes the people’s mandate seriously, he should resign with immediate effect.”

The DA’s Jack Bloom says Makhura should have taken action against Mahlangu sooner.

Meanwhile, Makhura has committed to implementing the report’s recommendations without any delay.

Read an explainer below, courtesy of Section27:

Life Esidimeni Fact Sheet by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)