In response to a DA parliamentary question Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi admitted that the Gauteng Department of Health failed to inform the National Health Department of their intentions to move mental health patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to alternative facilities.
According to the response, Minister Motsloaledi only learned about the Gauteng Department of Health’s plans when “section 27, on behalf of South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SAGAD), wrote to the national Department of Health, threatening to take the Gauteng department of Health to court”.
Minister Motsoaledi’s admission should now move him to support the DA’s call for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
It has been almost three months since DA Leader Mmusi Maimane wrote to President Jacob Zuma to launch a Judicial Commission of Inquiry in terms of Section 84 (2) (f) of the Constitution, and yet President Zuma has done nothing to start implementing any accountability measures for Esidimeni.
The Life Esidimeni victims deserve justice and Motsoaledi should use his position in government to motivate for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. Motsoaledi must press the President for a full-scale Judicial Commission of Inquiry, as further details of gross negligence, misconduct and misleading actions emerge.
There are still too many unanswered questions, and the DA believes that the Gauteng government must be held to account for their reckless decision that cost more than 100 mental health patients their lives.