To sympathize with families of the Life Esidimeni tragedy victims, Premier David Makhura has promised to erect a monument of the victims in Gauteng.
The premier said his administration has been working closely with the families of the Life Esidimeni tragedy to ensure Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba’s remedial actions are fully implemented.
He said as a premier, he would continue to work very closely with the bereaved families to ensure that they are happy about how the tragedy will be handled. His first step would be erecting a lasting monument in honour of the deceased.
“The provincial government would never have approved decisions taken to outsource mentally ill patients to NGOs whether they are operating legally or not,” Makhura said, adding that he had already emphasized to several MECs to ensure no service delivery was compromised before entering into contracts with service providers.
He also appealed to all political leaders to honour the wishes of the bereaved families who asked that the tragedy not be turned into a football match for political gains.
“I’m deeply aggrieved by how those responsible have been trying to hide all the facts from me and the health minister,” Makhura said, pointing out that the department of health should have placed the Life Esidimeni tragedy victims in public health facilities as he was determined to lead a mission over the next two years so that the Life Esidimeni tragedy can never happen again.
The premier made this promises at the time families of the psychiatric patients began their first-day healing process with tears, songs and prayers.
The families sat under a large white stretched tent and opened the session by singing songs of praise, followed by the lighting of white candles and prayers from different faiths.
The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and newly appointed Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa were present at the ceremony which ended with a close meeting which the media were not allowed to take part in.
Reverend Gift Moerane from the SA Council of Churches, told reporters outside the venue that the session was very important for the families because they still needed closure.
“I can safely say that the families need closure… They are not necessarily fighting with government but they want to get the truth.
“They are happy that a report and its recommendation is now enabling government to do the right thing, which is to address issues that led to the death of their loved ones,” Moerane said.
He commended the families for making the decision to open themselves up to the pain and heartache again.
“The gesture for them to come here… and expose themselves to another pain, to reveal how they feel and we will give them the entire day to tell their own story, we will just be listening,” he said.
Meanwhile, Premier Makhura’s speech was disrupted by voices coming from the EFF, telling him to resign. But, the premier continued with his speech, saying he was determined to lead a mission over the next two years so that the Life Esidimeni tragedy can never happen again.