The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) was not pleased when it learnt that Gauteng premier David Makhura, did not attend the #LifeEsidimeni arbitration hearings on Monday morning.
TAC, together with other civil organisations, including Sonke Gender Justice, marched from the Pieter Roos Park in Parktown to the Emoyeni Conference Centre where the arbitration hearings are happening. The purpose of the march was to deliver a submission to Makhura about the appalling state of Gauteng’s health care system, in light of the Life Esidimeni saga.
Despite Makhura’s absence and marchers being denied access to the centre due to their numbers, the TAC deputy secretary general Vuyokazi Gonyela read out a letter to Makhura’s head of communications Thabo Masebe.
Some of the demands in the submission included Makhura identifying more government officials to hold accountable for the Esidimeni patients who lost their lives. Gonyela also said that after various assessments of numerous healthcare facilities by TAC members, Makhura should also look into improving and allocating more resources to these facilities.
“Civil society has a duty to partner with government in order to work together to improve our healthcare system and prevent unnecessary deaths,” she said.
Gonyela added that the organisation is calling for an early meeting with Makhura, together with human and health stakeholders, to discuss better health implementation strategies by February this year.
Masebe said Makhura’s absence at the arbitration hearing was not a sign of disrespect and will ensure that the submissions made by the civil rights organisations reach the premier. He further said that he can assure the organisations and the families who lost their loved ones, that Makhura will execute the suggestions submitted to his office.
“…He is quite prepared to work with you, to attend to all the problems, all the issues, that you are raising… which are facts… He is more than prepared… to solve all of these problems,” said Masebe.
The arbitration hearings resume today, as former Gauteng health minister Qedani Mahlangu had to answer questions regarding her role in the in the 143 #LifeEsidimeni patients who lost their lives.
Featured image by Mihlali Ntsabo