Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu is refusing to answer my questions in the Gauteng Legislature relating to the deaths of psychiatric patients who were discharged earlier this year from Life Healthcare Esidimeni.
She has requested from the Speaker “an indulgence to hold in abeyance the response to the questions … pending the outcome of an internal investigation that the Department has commissioned to consider all relevant factors.”
She also says that she “is cognisant of the current investigation into the same matter by the Health Ombudsman who may also have a direct bearing on the questions.”
Mahlangu has refused to answer two written questions that asked about the breakdown of the deaths at the various NGOs, and also details of the monitoring and funding of the NGOs.
Today she refused to reply to my oral question in the House about assistance provided to relatives for funeral and other costs arising from the deaths.
Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe said that she was considering this issue after she had received an objection by DA Chief Whip Mike Moriarty.
I suspect the real reason Mahlangu is withholding information is that it would implicate herself further in the deaths and severely embarrass the department.
It is unprecedented and unacceptable for a MEC to refuse to answer official questions in the Legislature for such a flimsy reason.
The Speaker should rule that the answers by provided according to the rules in the public interest.
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222