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Baleni: Esidimeni contract termination should not have been done

Director-General of Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office Phindile Baleni says the Esidimeni termination was a project that was never supposed to take place in Gauteng.

Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is in charge of the Esidimeni dispute resolution process. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Director-General of Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office has described the manner in which the Esidimeni project was handled as inhumane, becoming the third government official to publicly say that former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu must be held to account.

Phindile Baleni testified in the arbitration process in Parktown on Thursday.

She says that the government is embarrassed by how provincial health officials handled Esidimeni.

One hundred and eighteen mentally ill people died after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the group moving patients to unlawful NGOs.

Baleni says the Esidimeni termination was a project that was never supposed to take place in Gauteng.

“This was ill-advised, should not have been done. We haven’t even achieved what we, as the Department of Health, set out to achieve. It was handled in such an inhumane manner. It should just not have been done.”

Baleni has assured retired Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke that there will be a rigorous pursuit of disciplinary procedures against those who were involved in the tragedy.

“Justice I assure you, we’ll pursue this, we’ll pursue it very vigorously and we’ll make a settlement.”

She also says she strongly believes that Mahlangu must provide bereaved families with the answers they need.