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Health MEC quits after the death of 94 psychiatric patients

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has confirmed that Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has resigned.

Makhura said he received Mahlangu’s letter of resignation a night before the reading of the Health Ombudsman’s report.

“I would like to announce that last night I received a letter of resignation from Ms Qedani Mahlangu as the MEC for Health and   as a member of the Gauteng provincial legislature, I have accepted her resignation,” said Makhura.

In a media briefing held by the Health Ombudsman to release the report into the circumstances surrounding the deaths psychiatric patients, Makhura said even if Mahlangu didn’t resign, he would have taken action as this is a serious matter.

He also instructed his office to start processes that will deal with the recommendations and one of the recommendations includes moving patients still at NGOs to hospitals and other centres.

On Wednesday the Health Ombudsman released a report into the deaths of psychiatric patients at Life Healthcare Esidimeni which revealed that 94 patients died and not 36 as recorded by the Gauteng Health Department.

A report also found that when MEC Qedani Mahlangu publicly announced 36 deaths in September, 77 patients had already died.

Mentally ill patients from the Life Esidimeni facility died between March and December last year. The report said the patients died under unlawful circumstances and not their condition.

Mahlangu is set to be replaced by Dr Gwen Ramokgopa.

GAUTENG ANC has commented on the resignation on health MEC Qedani Mahlangu‘s decision to “voluntarily step down” shows “accountability and sensitivity to the affected families”.

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