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ANCYL unreservedly withdraws criminal charges against Makhura & Mhlangu

Earlier this week, the league joined opposition parties in pressing charges against Mahlangu after the Health Ombudsman report.

FILE: Qedani Mahlangu. Picture: Gauteng Provincial Health Dept Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in Gauteng has done an about turn and unreservedly withdrawn their criminal charges against Premier David Makhura and former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu for their involvement in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Earlier this week, the league joined opposition parties in pressing charges against Mahlangu after the Health Ombudsman revealed that 94 psychiatric patients died after being transferred to unlicensed NGOs.

Yesterday, the mother body lashed out at the league saying this is a distressing time for the bereaved families and their public displays of disunity were atrocious and despicable.

The youth league in Gauteng has also retracted its statements that questioned the integrity and competence of Dr. Gwen Ramokgopa, who will be taking over from Mahlangu next week.

The ANC said this is not a time for grandstanding and the league has avenues to use if they want to express any issues.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said, “And the Youth League has got a better platform to engage its own mother body the ANC in Gauteng. We hope they will use this opportunity because we must work together to comfort and to give necessary support to the bereaved families.”

NOT SHUTTING DOWN NGOS RIGHT NOW

The Gauteng provincial government has moved to clarify that NGOs which have been housing Life Esidimeni patients and later found to be operating illegally have always existed as care facilities but not equipped to cater for mentally ill patients.

The provincial government says on the basis of this, they will not be shutting down these facilities.

Earlier this week, Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba released his investigation into the circumstances around the deaths of 94 psychiatric patients.

He found that all 27 of the NGOs were not licensed or equipped to house the patients.

Makhura’s office said it’s not concentrating on shutting down these NGOs right now but on taking mentally ill patients away from dangerous conditions.

Spokesperson Thabo Masebe said they are prioritising on terminating the contracts.

“What we’re doing, which is very clear from the report of the ombudsman, is to move the people who are there.”

Masebe said these NGOs were established before the Life Esidimeni deal was established.

“Remember NGOs are there, they’ve been functioning. They were not set up for the purpose of securing for the mentally ill patients.”

However, this does not rule out further action against the owners of the institutions as political parties and the families of the 94 who died have laid criminal charges against them.

Read full Health Ombudsman report below.

The report into the ‘circumstances surrounding the deaths of mentally ill patients: Gauteng province’ by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd