Following deaths of over 100 mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni, concerned South Africans have joined opposition parties in Gauteng to call for the immediate removal of Premier David Makhura.
The Democratic Alliance in the province spearheaded the call for the premier’s resignation, saying the ruling party must see to his removal or take responsibility for the deaths of the mentally ill patients.
Speaking during the party’s march to Makhura’s office on Tuesday morning, DA leader Mmusi Maimane accused David Makhura of authorizing the transfer of patients to the NGOs which later resulted to their deaths.
“Your Makhuras may have been the ones who were driving the hearses carrying dead bodies of our people. In South Africa, we protest about many things, but today we’re here as citizens who realize that our people died at the hands of a government which doesn’t care,” said Maimane
DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, the party’s Gauteng provincial leader John Moodey, DA Johannesburg regional chairperson Khume Ramulifho, DA shadow MEC of health Jack Bloom and Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba led the march to Makhura’s office in Johannesburg.
The party also called for a judicial inquiry into all the deaths of the patients and asked the ruling party to prepare to be held responsible for the massive loss.
Through a motion of ‘no confidence’ on Makhura’s leadership which was being debated in the legislature on Tuesday, Maimane compared the tragedy to that of the Marikana massacre- which took place between 10 August and 20 September 2012- and the ongoing Nkandla saga.
The motion of no confidence in Premier Makhura was put forward by the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF)
“We saw them do this with Marikana. We saw them do this with Nkandla. We saw them do this with the Guptas’ Waterkloof landing. As soon as the scandal breaks, one person ends up under the bus and the rest walk away,” Maimane said while criticizing the ANC-led government.
There must be an inquest for each and every person who died, says the DA public relations councillor, Thamsanqa Mabhena who also noted that to do this, the ANC must force Makhura to resign, or the masses must rise up.
“As Nelson Mandela said, if the ANC government does to you what the apartheid government did, then you must do to it what you did to the apartheid government,” he said.
In order to achieve quick action for justice for the families of the deceased, the DA streamlined their request into major steps which include:
- The immediate resignation of Makhura,
- The establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the deaths,
- The South African Police Services must launch an inquest into each and every death, following the transfer of the Life Esidimeni patients,
- There must be full financial compensation provided to the families by the government.
Meanwhile, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) used their population percentage in the parliament to rule against EFF’s vote of No Confidence in Makhura , and called out the DA and EFF for “political opportunism and grandstanding”.
The ANC Chief Whip Brian Hlongwa also claimed that the motion was a “gimmick to undermine the process to deal with the tragic events of Life Esidimeni,” and that Makhura was not cited for any involvement in the tragedy.
“We are appalled by the political opportunism and grandstanding displayed by the DA and EFF in such a serious matter. This political posturing by the anti-majoritarian forces of DA will not deter the ANC government led by Premier Makhura from implementing the recommendation of the health ombudsman and the remedial action,” Hlongwa said.