Ms Thandi Nontenja
UDEMWO Secretary General

The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) notes with frustration and anger the actions of the former Gauteng Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu in relation to the Life Esidimeni tragedy last year. Ms Mahlangu is clearly trying her best to exculpate herself from any responsibility in this disaster.

The finger-pointing is nauseating and no-one in Government seems to take responsibility for what, effectively, had been the murder of 143 mentally-ill patients when they were unlawfully transferred to unregistered NGOs. Listening to the testimonies thus far, it seems that those involved (who form the links in the chain of responsibility) think they all had “done what was expected of them”. For, if they had in fact done what was expected of them, this calamity would not have happened, and the patients would still be alive today.

Once it became apparent that something was drastically wrong within the system, those families who placed their faith in the health department had not been given straight answers, but only received the bodies of their loved ones to bury. How powerless they must have felt!

Until those found guilty of negligence, face the wrath of law, we cannot rest. Even though the departed cannot be returned to those who love them, someone must be held liable for this inhumane act. Justice must be served and those found guilty of misdeeds and negligence should be arrested and punished.