Makhura Esidimeni

I never approved the transfer of Esidimeni patients, so says Makhura




Nie Cele

Alina Tau

Gauteng number one citizen and Premier, David Makhura has come out guns blazing and defended himself about the much maligned Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Addressing a packed to the rafters Legislature during his state of the province address (SOPA), Makhura told the audience that this calamity has exposed deep institutional problems within the public health system and public service in general.

“I would like to reiterate that the transfer of mental health care patients to ill-equipped and unlawfully operating NGOs was never approved by myself or the Gauteng Executive Council,” said Premier.

He further revealed that, the Gauteng Provincial Government had budgeted enough money for mental health care services, and argued that serious governance failures have compromised the quality of care of millions of people who depend on the public health system, especially the poor and most vulnerable sections of society such as those who use mental health services.

The bellicose Premier also lashed out and said, “It cannot be business as usual.The Life Esidimeni tragedy has brought to the fore that there are some of our public health workers and public officials who treat patients and citizens with disrespect and disdain. This is totally unacceptable and is not representative of the tens of thousands of health care professionals and workers who are compassionate and dedicated to public service excellence.


However, as the head of government in the province I have taken full responsibility and accountability for this tragic loss of life of our fellow citizens. I cannot pass the buck.”

“ I am the Premier of this province. The buck stops with me. I take responsibility for anything that goes wrong in the administration I lead. I must face the people and fix the problem.

I dip my head in shame and once more apologize that this happened under my watch and I am totally committed to take corrective and remedial action to ensure that this never happens again,” he pointed.

Makhura also divulged his administration was keenly awaiting the outcomes of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process led by retired Deputy Chief Justice DikgangMoseneke.

“I am absolutely determined to speedily implement the outcomes of the ADR process in order to ensure redress, justice and closure for the affected families. After consultation with the Family Committee, I will appoint an independent Curator who will ensure that all the decisionsof Moseneke are implemented.”


He also admonished that how a nation cares for the most vulnerable in society is a defining feature of the values of that nation.

“In April, this year, I will appoint a panel of experts and civil society representatives who will review our work in caring for the most vulnerable in society – people with mental illness, the elderly, people with disabilities and children.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Legislature lambasted Makhura and said under his watch life for the average citizen has become a hard road to walk and will continue to remain a difficult path to tread until the province experience a total change of government, led by DA, in 2019.


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