OPINION

Esidimeni: DoH obstructing police investigation - Jack Bloom

DA MPL says investigator told hearings that dept seems to have something to hide

GAUTENG HEALTH MUST STOP OBSTRUCTING POLICE ESIDIMENI PROBE

I am appalled that the Gauteng Health Department has obstructed the police investigation into the deaths of the Esidimeni patients, as revealed in the testimony of SAPS Major General Charles Johnson at the arbitration hearings yesterday.

According to Johnson, his investigation "is delayed by the non-cooperation of the Department of Health and the Gauteng Department of Health."

The police have gone to court to summon Dr Ernest Kenoshi, the acting head of the Gauteng Health Department, to appear before a magistrate. This is a drastic move that should not have proved necessary.

It is deeply distressing that the Department has not been helpful in providing documents to the police.

Police detectives are dealing with 127 cases, including 38 inquest dockets and 89 inquiries, which could be turned into inquests depending on the evidence.

I am concerned that many post-mortem reports are not finalized and that family members have not been informed of the findings.

Johnson says that based on his experience he infers that the Department has "something to hide."

This is a devastating accusation that needs to be dispelled by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa.

I welcome Major-General Johnson's undertaking that a special police sub-unit will focus on the Esidimeni deaths as it needs to go to court as soon as possible.

Statement issued by Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 27 October 2017