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Life Esidimeni: Family, civil groups happy with progress

Families of the 94 victims who died say they're please the Gauteng Premier is moving swiftly to ensure that the Health Ombudsman’s recommendations are implemented.

FILE: Families and supporters of 37 psychiatric patients who died after being transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni gather around white handmade crosses during a march at the Gauteng Health MEC’s offices. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – With the suspension of Dr Barney Selebano, Gauteng's Health Department head, for his role in the Esidimeni deaths, civil rights organisations and the families of those who died say they welcome the move by Premier David Makhura.

The families say they are happy with him moving fast in ensuring that Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s recommendations are implemented.

The Gauteng provincial government confirmed on Wednesday that Selebano has been placed on precautionary suspension, and that the department's director Dr Makgabo Manamela had also received notice of the intention to suspend her.

Last week, Professor Makgoba said the Health Department was reckless and negligent in its decision to move at least 1,300 mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni, which resulted in the death of at least 94 of those patients.

Manamela has been given 48 hours, from Wednesday, to motivate why she should stay in her position.

Section 27's Mark Heywood says the organisation is happy with the move to implement Makgoba’s recommendations.

“Our impression up to now has been that Premier Makhura and the Minister of Health (Aaron Motsoaledi) are moving very swiftly and seriously to implement these recommendations.”

Cassey Chambers of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group says they welcome how fast the recommendations are being implemented.

“For us, it’s already promising because we feel like it’s been heard and we see things happening.”

Andrew Peterson's uncle is one of those moved from illegal non-governmental organisations.

“As a family committee we are very happy with these developments.”

Former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned on the eve of the Health Ombudsman’s report being released.

Read the Health Ombudsman's full report below:

Esidimeni Report by eNCA.com on Scribd

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)