Esidimeni: Qedani Mahlangu apologises to victims' families
Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has begun her testimony at the Esidimeni hearings.
JOHANNESBURG - Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has apologised to the families of the 143 people psychiatric patients who died in the Esidimeni tragedy.
She shed some tears, while telling the hearing that her department had “good intentions”.
Mahlangu resigned on the eve of the damning report by the Health Ombudsman - which found which found that legal processes were not followed in the project from the get-go.
The former MEC has been mentioned by numerous witnesses as the person who put pressure on Health Department officials to go ahead with the project despite warnings by psychology groups, doctors and clinicians.
#LifeEsidimeni Mahlangus starts by saying “the patients transfer project was the most painful thing to ever happen to the country’s healthcare system. I want to send my sincere condolences to the families who lost their loved ones”. MR— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) January 22, 2018
#LifeEsidimeni Families keep heckling “we don’t care, don’t cry, we hope you tell the truth”. MR— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) January 22, 2018
WATCH: Qedani Mahlangu begins testimony
Today’s proceedings started with a prayer.
It was requested by Reverend Joseph Maboe whose son Billy was one of the psychiatric patients who died in the Esidimeni tragedy.
Mahlangu entered the main marquee from one entrance, while other witnesses used another entry point.
[WATCH] #QedaniMahlangu arrives at the #LifeEsidimeni hearing. Mahlangu used a different entrance to go inside the venue than the one used by previous testifiers. https://t.co/HB5JX7eZis pic.twitter.com/7eDDvuimTk— Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) January 22, 2018
Dressed in a navy blue dress, black jacket and black head-wrap, Mahlangu walked in as families of the victims stood up and began to sing.
Her testimony began with a question from evidence leader advocate Patrick Ngutshana who wanted to know why she couldn’t be here last year to testify.
Mahlangu then read from a prepared statement - in which she apologised to the families and also offered her condolences.