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Esidimeni tragedy: Motsoaledi calls for justice to prevail

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says no stone will be unturned in finding justice for the Life Esidimeni victims.

FILE: Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says government views the deaths of more than 100 transferred psychiatric patients in a serious light and is calling for justice to prevail.

Parliament is on Thursday debating the tragedy caused by the transfer of patients from Life Esidimeni to various NGO's in Gauteng.

Motsoaledi is briefing the National Assembly and will also face tough questions from Members of Parliament on the state of South Africa's health system.

Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned following the tragedy.

Motsoaledi says no stone will be unturned.

“We’ve now opened an operation centre which will by next week, operate on a 24-hour basis and no stone will be unturned. There’ll have to be court cases in this matter where the NPA will decide who to prosecute and not to prosecute.”

A look at how the events surrounding the deaths of 94 patients from the Life Esidimeni Hospital.

At the same time, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for a judicial commission of inquiry into the Life Esidimedi tragedy.

The DA’s Wilmot James says more must be done to ensure the vulnerable are protected in South Africa.

“Minister Motsoaledi must use the power he has of legally withholding conditional grounds more effectively to exact compliance with provinces that are on national laws as long as they do not compromise access to health.”

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Susan Thembekwayo has called for arrests to be made in connection with the tragedy.

“We need to have all those responsible behind bars. We need to have those NGOs, the Gauteng department officials and the politicians who instructed them to be arrested.”

While Parliament debates the tragedy, the families of the victims are calling on MPs not to use the day for political point scoring.

Life Esidimeni family committee spokesperson Christine Nxumalo says relatives want space to grieve.

“I’m calling on people to give families space to grieve, also to allow us to ensure that the recommendations are implemented and that we’re able to ensure that lives are saved.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)