DA demands action against those implicated in Life Esidimeni tragedy

At least 143 mentally-ill people died at illegal NGOs around Gauteng after a disastrous transfer project by the provincial Health Department.

DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom announced steps to hold Life Esidimeni culprits personally liable for R159 million arbitration award. Picture: @DA_GPL/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has demanded that the provincial government pursue legal action against those implicated in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

The arbitration hearings chaired by former deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke recommended that R159 million be paid to the families of the those who died.

At least 143 mentally-ill people died at illegal non-governmental organisations around Gauteng after a disastrous transfer project by the provincial Health Department.

The Health Department paid the money in June.

DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom says: “We think that in terms of this portion of the damage’s act, the provincial government can directly act against those who are to blame and recover from their own pockets the money, or at least part of the money, that has been paid out in damages.”

Meanwhile, the provincial Health Department’s finances are under severe strain as a result of civil lawsuits like the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Gauteng’s Health Department budget is also about to surpass the Education Department’s budget, making it one of only two provinces that budget more for health.

The Gauteng Health Department has already paid over R1 billion in claims in just the last two financial years.

The claims include the Life Esidimeni tragedy where the families of the 144 people who died were each offered a settlement of R1.2 million.

Additional reporting by Babalo Ndenze.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)