Gauteng government departments will pay for R161 million Esidimeni award

by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The funds to pay the R160.64 million arbitration award to 135 families of Life Esidimeni patients who suffered and died will come proportionately from all provincial government departments.

This was said by Gauteng Director-General Phindile Baleni at a meeting last week on Friday of the Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office in the Gauteng Legislature.

She said that the National Treasury will not provide any funds for this, and the money will be taken from the budgets of the provincial departments.

The National Health Department has been asked to assist, but this does not seem likely as they already paid R6 million for the relocation of Esidimeni patients from unsuitable NGOs to proper treatment centres.

The deadline set by Justice Dikgang Moseneke for the payments is 19 June.

I am relieved that the money has been found to pay the financial redress for Esidimeni victims, but it is unfortunate that it has been diverted from funds that are needed for service delivery.

It’s the price that has to paid for the inexcusable arrogance and negligence that lead to the deaths of 144 patients in the Esidimeni disaster.