by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy has set aside R118 million in the Adjustment budget for the relatives of those who suffered in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, but this is inadequate to pay out all the claimants.
According to the Premier’s Office, they have received 200 new claims, most of which have been verified as being covered by the Arbitration ruling made by Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Justice Moseneke ruled that R1 million be paid to each claimant for constitutional damages, R180 000 for emotional trauma, and R20 000 funeral expenses for those who died.
This means that R1.2 million will be paid to relatives of those who died, and R1 180 000 to relatives of patients who survived.
Payouts to 200 claimants would cost about R236 million, so the present allocation falls short by more than R100 million.
The Premier’s Office has promised that all claimants would be paid by the end of the year, but this is unlikely for nearly half the claimants because of the budget shortfall.
Premier David Makhura’s record is badly tarnished by the deaths of 144 mental health patients and he needs to ensure that all claims are paid before his term of office ends in May next year.