South Africa: 'I Will Only Be Happy When Qedani Mahlangu Is in Jail' - Life Esidimeni Family Member

Angry families protest over Life Esidimeni deaths scandal outside the Gauteng health department offices in Johannesburg (file photo).
12 December 2018

A family member of deceased Life Esidimeni patient Joseph Gumede, 60, says she will only be happy once former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu is thrown in jail for her role in the tragedy.

"They should have done this a long time ago.

"I am not going to be happy until she is thrown in jail, her stepping down from the ANC is none of my business, that is just politics," Ntombi Dladla told News24 on Tuesday upon hearing that Mahlangu was told by the ANC to resign from the party's provincial executive committee (PEC).

Mahlangu was thrust into the spotlight in 2017 when 144 mentally ill patients died under her watch as health MEC when her department transferred 1 700 patients to various NGOs after it terminated its contract with Life Esidimeni in a bid to save money.

The NGOs did not have valid operating licences.

A total of 21 Life Esidimeni patients remain missing following the tragedy.

Following months of public pressure and growing calls for her to resign, she stepped down as the MEC in February 2017.

Now Mahlangu, along with ANC leader Brian Hlongwa, has been instructed to resign from the PEC following the scandal.

March to Luthuli House

"We asked them to step aside to self-correct, for personal growth and the protection of the ANC brand," ANC Gauteng secretary Jacob Khawe told News24.

While Dladla sees this as a positive move, she is calling for Mahlangu's arrest.

"This is about justice for our families who have not yet healed from the tragedy," she told News24.

Dladla and her family, along with other relatives of those who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, have not yet received compensation for the death of their loved one.

On Monday the affected relatives marched to Luthuli House and the office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura seeking answers.

ANC head of the Presidency Zizi Kodwa promised family members that he would speak to the premier and that the matter would be finalised by Friday.

Source: News24

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