DR Gwendoline Malegwale Ramokgopa‚ a former Deputy Minister of Health and ex- Tshwane Exec Mayor, is the new MEC for Health in Gauteng.
This follows the resignation of embattled Qedani Mahlangu yesterday, amid reports in the wake of health Ombudsman report into the deaths of 94 mentally ill patients after they were moved from the licensed Life Esidimeni private homes to 27 unlicensed facilities.
The health ombudsman‚ Professor Malegapuru Makgoba‚ on Wednesday found that the Department of Health was negligent when it moved 1‚900 patients from Life healthcare.
He said the number of 94 fatalities is provisional as bodies remain unidentified in morgues and some families are still coming forward with names of dead people.
His report is titled‚ “94 silent deaths and still counting“.
As a result, Mahlangu tendered her resignation letter. She’s also accused for lying to DA by falsifying the number of the dead last year.
But, she’s not off the hook as everyone is gunning for her.
Families of the deceased are considering legal action against her and other officials implicated.
Activist and Section 27 founder, Mark Heywood, says this was highly preventable but the department went ahead with the decision ignoring all warnings.
Heywood says there needs to be an investigation into why the 1300 patients were moved in the first place.
The frightening thing is that isn’t admitted care for mental people with mental illnesses in South is appalling but there is no budget and care but people are treated badly. So, we have got to look at access to mental healthcare services.”
Premier David Makhura has accepted her resignation‚ saying:”Mahlangu understands. If something goes extremely wrong‚ you have to take direct responsibility.
Makhura said the area of mental health has suffered huge neglect.
“There can be no passing of the buck to juniors. Health is about saving lives.
“The circumstances around the patients’ lives are unacceptable‚” Makhura said.
“We will implement everything in the report.”
Meanwhile, ANC MP Chief Whip spin doctor Moloto Mothapo has also tendered his resignation.
Moloto, who joined the ANC Parliamentary Caucus in 2005, did not disclose reasons for his resignation.
ANC Chief Whip, Cde Jackson Mthembu, has thanked Cde Moloto for serving the ANC Caucus for the past 12 years with absolute distinction.
“Comrade Moloto has been an invaluable part of the ANC Caucus and the ANC at large. We wish him the very best in future endeavours he wishes to explore. He can rely on our support wherever the future leads him.”