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Calls for ANC to remove Mahlangu from PEC

The South African Federation for Mental Health says former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu needs to be removed from the position as a sign of respect to the families of Life Esidimeni victims.

FILE: Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu gives testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing in Johannesburg on 22 January 2018. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Federation for Mental Health has called on the African National Congress (ANC) to immediately remove former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu from the Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC).

The federation says she needs to be removed from the position as a sign of respect to the families of those who lost loved ones in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Mahlangu, as health MEC, oversaw the deadly relocation project in which at least 144 psychiatric patients died in Gauteng.

Her re-appointment to the PEC has been met with anger by several individuals and organisations.

PODCAST SERIES: Lying In State: The Life Esidimeni tragedy - The decision

Earlier this week, the Life Esidimeni committee, which represents the families of those who died in the tragedy, said it was shocked and enraged by Mahlangu's re-election to the ANC PEC.

The committee said in allowing her to participate in the PEC, the ANC was effectively condoning the most heinous acts perpetrated under her watch.

Committee member Christine Nxumalo said: “For us, it simply means people who do wrong are not held accountable and basically are re-elected into leadership. It makes no sense to an ordinary person if you’ve done such a heinous task while you were employed [at the Department of Health].”

The committee said Mahlangu should not be eligible for election in any political structures.

Nxumalo added: “What we believe is that right after the arbitration hearing, they should’ve hauled her before the integrity committee, but they didn’t because they knew at some point they’re going to the elective conference. They should’ve done that, but they didn’t.”

Additional reporting by Katleho Sekhotho.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)