ANC Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature, Ntombi Mekgwe, has abandoned the principles of her office by shielding Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, and former MEC for Health, Qendani Mahlangu, from scrutiny by reneging on a commitment to allow the DA to bring a motion before the house which seeks to hold both Premier Makhura and Mahlangu to account for their roles in the Esidimeni tragedy.
The DA tabled this motion in order to refer the Premier to the Integrity Commissioner to establish if he breached the Code of Conduct and Ethics by misleading the House and the Arbitration Hearings by claiming he never knew that Life Esidimeni patients were being sent to NGOs, despite evidence to the contrary, including the proceedings of the sitting on 15 March 2016.
On 16 February 2018, in a programming meeting with the Speaker and Chief Whips from political parties represented in the Legislature, the motion was proposed and it was agreed that it would be put on the agenda for today’s meeting.
In today’s programming meeting, the Speaker denied there was any such agreement in the previous meeting.
The Speaker indicated that this may be brought back to the discussion table sometime in April 2018.
If this is the case, by the time this motion appears on the schedule for a Legislative sitting the Life Esidimeni Arbitration panel will have made its recommendations based on inaccurate testimonies by both the Premier and Mahlangu.
This motion is an important step in ensuring that those who were responsible for this inhumane and painful tragedy are not shielded and are held to account for their role in the cruel deaths that resulted from the indifferent attitude of ANC politicians.
The DA will fight to ensure that this constitutional mechanism is not abused by the ANC in a desperate attempt to absolve themselves of any wrong doing.
Justice must be served and the constitutional mechanisms to ensure this must not be thwarted by those who put their political party before the rights of ordinary South Africans.