by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
The Gauteng Provincial Government has not yet made payments to the families of the Life Esidimeni patients who suffered and died, even though Justice Dikgang Moseneke set 19 June as the deadline for his arbitration award, which is only three weeks away.
This is revealed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
Makhura says that “No payment has been made yet, the process is underway to verify bank details of all the beneﬁciaries and validate new applications. We will meet the timeframe set by the Arbitrator, Justice Moseneke.”
The arbitration awarded R1.2 million to 67 families who lost a relative in the Esidimeni tragedy, and R1.18 million (which excludes R20 000 for burial costs) to the families of 68 patients who survived the transfer to unregistered NGOs.
This amounts to a total payment of R160.64 million to 135 claimants, but new claimants are also being accepted so the total cost is likely to increase considerably as there were more than 1400 patients who survived.
Justice Moseneke gave a three month deadline for the payments to be made in a lump sum.
It is unclear where the money will be found to pay for this as Makhura says that “The Provincial Executive Council (Exco) is ﬁnalising all consultations with national department of Health on this matter
and an update report will be given to the legislature in due course.”
I am concerned that arrangements have not yet been finalized as to where the money will be found to meet the firm deadline set by Justice Moseneke.
It cannot come from the hard-pressed budget of the Gauteng Health Department which is struggling to provide a decent health service.
It seems that Makhura is trying to get the National Treasury to assist in paying the rising costs of the Esidimeni tragedy that he could have avoided had he listened to all the warnings.