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Gauteng Health MEC faces axe after patient deaths report – Jack Bloom

DA says it was abundantly clear from the start that Mahlangu had bungled the transfer of patients which led to avoidable deaths

Gauteng Health MEC faces axe after patient deaths report

31 January 2017  

Gauteng Premier David Makhura needs to act quickly in firing Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu should the leaked findings of the Health Ombudsman's report into the deaths of psychiatric patients be confirmed when it is released publicly tomorrow.

According to a report in the Sowetan today, Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba recommends that "The premier of the Gauteng province must, in light of the findings in this report, consider the suitability of MEC Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu to continue in her current role as MEC for health."

Makgoba reportedly found that 71 patients had died after they were transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni to NGOs and other institutions. This figure is a lot higher than the 36 deaths Mahlangu revealed in September last year in response to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to the leaked report, 96% of the deaths occurred at incompetent and poorly resourced NGOs following "inadequate planning and a chaotic and ‘rushed or hurried’ implementation process."

Makgoba has reportedly further found that there was prima facie evidence of human rights violations by certain officials, certain NGOs and some activities including disregarding the constitution, National Health Act and the Mental Health Care Act.

It was abundantly clear from the start that the Health MEC had bungled the transfer of patients which led to avoidable deaths.

She should have resigned or been fired long ago for her inexcusable neglect.

I await the full details that will be revealed tomorrow by the Health Ombudsman, following which suitable action should be taken against all the implicated parties.

Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 31 January 2017