More evidence is emerging that Gauteng Premier David Makhura may have ignored explicit warnings that the transfer of mental health patients from Life Healthcare Esidimeni would be a disaster that could result in deaths.
Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba revealed that 94 psychiatric patients died after the transfers, and that several human rights were violated in the process.
Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned in the wake of a damning report.
Wits University Occupational Therapy students wrote to top state officials, including premier Makhura, on 18 January last year warning against patients being moved from Esidimeni's Waverley Care Centre in Germiston.
Eyewitness News is in possession of a copy of the letter, which details the concerns of the students.
The Democratic Alliance’s shadow MEC for health in Gauteng Jack Bloom says Makhura needs to explain why he ignored the heart-felt appeals from students not to close the centre.
“Now we see that as early as January 2016, Wits students pleaded with him (Makhura) not to close the Esidimeni centre. The notion that the premier only discovered what was happening in September 2016 shows that he was completely out of touch. He needs to be held accountable, his delay in action contributed to the deaths of 94 patients.”
Makhura has since suspended the Health Department’s HOD following the damning Health Ombudsman's report on the deaths of 94 mentally ill patients in the province.
Dr Barney Selebano was placed on precautionary suspension after he was named in the report on the department’s handling of the moving of the patients from Life Esidimeni facilities last year.