10 December 2018

South Africa: Protests Suggest the Esidimeni Debacle Will Dog ANC On the 2019 Elections Stump

Photo: Ray Mwareya/GroundUp
Angry families protest over Life Esidimeni deaths scandal outside the Gauteng health department offices in Johannesburg (file photo).

Relatives of Life Esidimeni patients who were moved in 2016 marched on the Gauteng premier's office and Luthuli House on Monday. As much as the ANC government wants to move on, its delays in addressing the situation keep the disaster on the agenda.

The Gauteng provincial government's efforts and achievements were trumpeted on a full page in the Sunday Times this weekend, in what was termed partner content, but appeared to be sponsored content. Elections are coming and the ANC in Gauteng needs to promote its successes, but it can't escape the Life Esidimeni debacle.

Protesters marched to Premier David Makhura's office and the ANC's Luthuli House on Monday demanding relatives be paid due compensation after the provincial government decided to move over 1,000 chronic psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni facilities into NGOs and community care, leading to the death of at least 144 patients.

In March, former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, in the Life Esidimeni arbitration, awarded...

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