Esidimeni: Gauteng ANC satisfied with Mahlangu’s willingness to testify
The ANC says it granted her study leave but the London School of Economics told the 'Mail & Guardian' that she isn’t registered with them.
JOHANNESBURG - Despite reports that former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu is not a student at the London School of Economics, the Gauteng African National Congress (ANC) says it is satisfied knowing she is willing to testify at the Life Esidimeni hearings.
Mahlangu is a key witness in the arbitration process, given that she signed off on the decision to move mentally ill patients to illegal NGOs resulting in the deaths of 141 people.
The ANC says it granted her study leave but the London School of Economics told the Mail & Guardian that she isn’t registered with them.
The Gauteng ANC has declined to comment on Mahlangu not being a student at the London School of Economics after saying last week that it was in contact with her.
The Treatment Action Campaign’s Anele Yawa says: “The ANC Gauteng needs to take a stand; it’s either they distance themselves publically on what the MEC did or it means they were part and parcel of the decisions that were taken by the former MEC.”
Yawa says that the campaign is conducting its own background check into whether Mahlangu is registered with another London school.
He says that unlike the Marikana massacre, a political head must account for this tragedy.
‘MAKHURA MUST BE QUESTIONED’
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said that Gauteng Premier David Makhura's role in the transfer of Esidimeni mental health patients that led to 141 deaths must be probed.
This followed former Mental Health Review Board director Dumazile Masondo’s claims that at the Esidimeni arbitration hearings that Makhura had attended meetings on the move of the patients.
She also claimed that Mahlangu told her she was “getting orders from above” on the Esidimeni project.
The DA said this flatly contradicts Makhura's claim that he didn’t know that the patients were sent to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) but were going to other state health facilities.
Makhura is due to testify at the hearings along with Mahlangu whose whereabouts is still not clear.
DA shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom says: “New evidence has emerged that Gauteng Premier David Makhura was aware of the transfers to unsuitable NGOs where the people died.
“I think that Premier Makhura needs to be closely questioned at the arbitration hearing because ultimately he was the head of the government under which this happened.”
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)