Working for access to quality public healthcare in South Africa since 1998
24 October 2017

Qedani Mahlangu must face the victims

JOHANNESBURG, 24 October 2017 – The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is happy to read that journalists have established that former Gauteng Health MEC and one of the primary people responsible for the Life Esidimeni tragedy, Qedani Mahlangu has been tracked to London.

We are made to understand that she is furthering her studies at the London School of Economics. We are absolutely disgusted that she is allowed to continue with her life, in fact improve her life, while over 140 people are dead and their families and loves ones left to pick up the pieces.

The country has for two weeks been listening to horrific stories of abuse and suffering from government officials, NGO owners, caregivers and devastated and traumatised family members.

All this is happening, while Mahlangu is able to continue with her life. If Mahlangu has any sense of responsibility or accountability, she would be at the hearings to hear the cries of our people. However, she clearly believes by “resigning” (the circumstances under which she did so, we look forward to hearing when the Premier testifies) she has done her bit. However, we will not rest until she takes her seat at the Arbitration hearings in Parktown, looks the families in the eye and answers the questions we have all wanted to ask her.

We trust that the process will now move speedily to subpoena Mahlangu, now that that the investigators and lawyers know her whereabouts.

We trust that the arbitration hearings will bring restorative justice and equitable redress to the families of the Life Esidimeni victims. The hearings have been dignified and an important process in exposing the links between corruption, a lack of accountability and a buckling health system. We hope this can be used as a blueprint in future. We are thankful for the dignified and firm manner with which retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke has conducted the hearings.

This tragedy also points to the still prevailing ignorance around mental health issues, and subsequently those in our society who are still invisible.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution process, which started on the 9th of October 2017 at Emoyeni Conference Centre in Parktown, Johannesburg will run until at least Friday the 27th of October 2017. The arbitration process follows a recommendation from a report published on the 1st of February 2017, by South Africa’s Health Ombud, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, into the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

TAC will not rest until Mahlangu and her sidekicks face the full might of the law and are held fully accountable for one of the biggest tragedies in our health system. We look forward to meeting her at Emoyeni and hearing her story.

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Samara Ragaven (Senior Researcher): 071 645 7579 or via email:  samara.ragaven@tac.org.za