Denials and reassurances from then MEC Mahlangu and others in the tragic psychiatric patient move going back to 2015.
Listen to then MEC for Health Mahalngu in 2015 explain how the Gauteng Health Department's terminated of the contract with life Healthcare Esidimeni.
Listen to former MEC Mahlangu below:
After the reports of the deaths of 36 psychiatric patients from Life Health Esidimeni Hospital in September 2016 while being transferred between facilities then MEC for Health said the following.
Qedani Mahlangu said, "not everything was hunky dory" when the patients were transferred to the psychiatric facility. She said clinical files of the patients would be released in the days to follow to show their medical history and give a clearer perspective on the tragedy.
We continue with the investigation to look at what the causes of death was for these particular individuals... I cannot talk in any detail on this matter relating to the deaths of these patients.— Qedani Mahlangu, Former Gauteng MEC for Health
We are beginning to encroach into a private doctor-patient relationship and that can't be correct.— Qedani Mahlangu, Former Gauteng MEC for Health
Listen to the interview below:
In fact in October 2016, Life Esedimeni denied allegations that 97 patients have died during their admission at their institution, saying the focus should be on the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
In fact, in October 2016 Life Esedimeni denied allegations that 97 patients died during their admission at their institution, saying the focus should be on the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
One must remember that people with chronic mental health conditions have a shorter life expectancy by 10 to 25 years. This is from the World Health Organisation.— Dr Nilesh Patel, Life Esidimeni Healthcare
Listen to the interview below:
Then in February 2016 then MEC Qedani Mahlangu said the department's contract with Esidimeni for mentally ill patients had been extended for 3 months. But she explained the patients would be moved in phases and she said they will bring in professionals to assist.
Listen to Mahlangu's interview in February 2016 below:
Section 27's Mark Heywood explains what he believes transpired through this entire timeframe leading up to the tragedy.
She treats civil society, she treats expert groups like Sadag (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) as if they are the enemies— Mark Heywood, Section 27
He explains that when they first wrote to her on behalf of Sadag in October 2015, one of her staff made the mistake of forwarding an email to Heywood. This was before the move of patients.
Her response was, don't trust these people, they have an agenda, let's prepare our lawyers.— Mark Heywood, Section 27
Section 27, Sadag and others had offered assistance with the move and it was spurned out of hand.
Instead, they went to court, lied in court, and broke an out of court settlement we reached with them.— Mark Heywood, Section 27 founder
Take a listen to Mark Heywood explaining their dealings with former Health MEC Mahlangu below: