#Esidimeni: Motsoaledi believes prosecution process could offer closure

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says it would be proper closure for the families if they knew why their loved ones were moved by the government to illegal NGO’s.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says both government and the families of the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy need to learn the truth as to why the mentally ill patients were moved to illegal non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The decision by the Gauteng health department led to the deaths of 144 people.

Motsoaledi says the National Prosecuting Authority could reveal the reasons if they are to prosecute.

It is understood the findings and recommendations of the recently concluded arbitration hearings chaired by retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke will inform the possibility of prosecution.

Motsoaledi was speaking at a healing session with the families in freedom park in Pretoria on Saturday.

The minister says it would be proper closure for the families - if they knew why their loved ones were moved by the government to illegal NGO’s.

“Perhaps the other processes of inquest and prosecutions – if the prosecuting authority deems so fit – perhaps they will still reveal something.”

Together with Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Motsoaledi read a pledge that everything possible would be done -to ensure that the tragedy never occurs again.

“We pledge to take proactive steps to ensure that not in our name and not under our watch will mental health again be overlooked or taken for granted.”

The day ended with both government officials here and the victim’s families- singing in praise.

PREMIER MAKHURA SAYS ARBITRATION ‘ONLY THE BEGINNING’

The Gauteng premier says the arbitration proceedings were only the beginning, and retired Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke’s findings and recommendations will be monitored by a curator.

“I am going to appoint, firstly a curator who is going to look after the interests of all the affected families.”

He says the scope will be widened to accommodate the most vulnerable, including children and the elderly.

“We need to line our ducks in a row to make sure that there is no chance that this can repeat itself.”

Christine Nxumalo, who lost her sister in the Esidimeni tragedy, says she welcomes governments interventions.
“For us it’s really about justice and I think that’s how we really see it.”