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Makhura: I made it clear that Mahlangu should resign over Esidimeni tragedy

Gauteng Premier David Makhura began his testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown on Tuesday.

FILE: Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: @GautengProvince/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng Premier David Makhura says that he spoke to former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu about resigning over the Esidimeni tragedy, telling her he would have to take decisive action against her if she didn't.

Makhura began his testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown on Tuesday.

The disastrous patient transfer resulted in the deaths of at least 144 mentally ill people.

Makhura says that when he read Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba's interim report into the Life Esidimeni tragedy he immediately called Mahlangu, who was on compassionate leave, and told her she had to take accountability.

Makhura says that Mahlangu told him she saw the report but was planning to dispute its contents.

“She made it clear to me that she disagrees with the report and I said I don’t know what disagreeing with the report means but the Health Ombudsman says this was very serious.”

He says that he told her the report was simply very bad and that action would have to be taken against her.

“She said 'I have to resign, I’ll do so' and I was making it very clear to her that she should go that way or I’ll take a different decision if she’s not convinced.”

Makhura apologised to the bereaved families, saying that he understood that as provincial head, he had the power to stop the project.