Life Esidimeni Arbitration, where to from here?

Nkutšoeu Motsau


Nkutšoeu Motsau (Chairperson of Azanla MVA) writes:
The recently concluded enquiry by the Life Esidimeni Arbitration, which was ably guided by the former Deputy Chief Justice and Robben Island inmate— Justice Dikgang Moseneke— laid bare the uncaring and cruel attitude of the ruling party towards the most vulnerable of our society, the mental health patients. The Premier of Gauteng, David Makhure, and the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, were the last witnesses to testify. Both apologised unconditionally for the tragedy that took place under their watch regardless of the so-called concurrent responsibilities, that is, each could not act in the space of the other. Both gallantly accepted ultimate responsibility unequivocally.

That was not enough though, even if the tears were taken into account. They both had to fall on their swords. Democracy demands it. Falling on their swords is not equivalent to committing suicide. It is a guarantee that they will not be able to find themselves in the same situation again. As matters now stand, it is possible that they can find themselves in a similar situation again. The correct and honourable thing for them to do is to resign. Then they are not likely to find themselves in a similar situation again. The heads must start to roll for all those who are immediately below the Premier of Gauteng and in the Department of Health; the MEC, the HOD, the Director and the rest. The law must take its course.

The Treasurer of Gauteng province says about R47 million has been used to pay the NGOs. Every cent must be accounted for.

We have seen it all before. They started it a long time ago, during Thabo Mbeki’s time. Something that came to be known as Travelgate! As you might know, Members of Parliament are given air tickets to travel to Parliament and back home. Many of them abused this facility. Members of Parliament colluded with travel agents to defraud Parliament. Parliament had to cough up to R37 million for fraudulent travel air tickets. This was done by Members of Parliament, ex officio commissioners-of-oath and lawmakers.

Thabo Mbeki used to complain about people (members of the ruling party) who were fighting for control of the state resources for personal gain. It was the beginning of the era of tenderpreneurship. Now a person would win a tender to build RDP houses, instead, he would pocket the money and disappears in the distant horizon. Others did such a terrible job of it, some of those houses are being rebuilt today. Then they went for state owned enterprises. The Scorpions were disbanded. Large-scale looting of the state followed. Corruption involving Jacob Zuma started with Shabir Sheikh and culminated with the Guptas; state capture if you like.

Today we hear about kickbacks and bribery every day. You pay a bribe rather than pay a traffic fine. You buy a driver’s license rather than go for a test. Now we hear how people, human beings, were treated like cattle at an auction. NGOs were irregularly issued with fraudulent licences and paid to take care of people they were not qualified to look after. Some of the patients died and the NGOs continued to draw funds in their name. Some patients died of starvation and dehydration because the NGOs were not paid so they could look after them. As a matter of fact, they were not supposed to be carted to NGOs according to the plan presented to the Premier’s Budget Council, but had to be integrated into state institutions. Yet, money was released to pay the NGOs.

See what you can make of this!

(‎05 ‎February ‎2018)

* The writer of this column, Nkutšoeu Motsau, was born in Top Location in the Vaal Triangle in 1953. He grew up in Sharpeville. He is a tetraplegic as a result of a car accident in July 2005 in Sharpeville and now resides in Cape Town, but still feels a deep rooted connection with the Vaal. Nkutšoeu is Chairperson of Azanla MVA.

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