Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has welcomed the report of the Health Ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, on the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of mentally ill patients in Gauteng.
The report into the deaths of about 94 mentally ill patients, who were transferred from Life Esidimeni to NGOs, was released on Wednesday.
The Presidency on Thursday said President Zuma has thanked Professor Makgoba for the investigation, which will help government to ensure that such a tragedy does not recur in the health sector.
“The President will be apprised by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, on steps to be taken to ensure that utmost care, support, empathy and expertise are made available to patients requiring mental health care,” said the Presidency.
President Zuma has also extended his deepest condolences to all the families of the deceased.
Acting Director-General of Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Donald Liphoko, said the South African government also offers its sincere condolences to the families of the patients who have lost their lives.
“Government has noted the report by the Health Ombudsman and that further investigative processes are still unfolding.
“We are confident that as a caring and transparent government, all relevant authorities will give the report and its recommendations the full attention they deserve.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of patients after being transferred from Life Esidimeni. Our thoughts are with the affected families to find closure.
“We also commend the efforts of the leadership in both provincial and national departments affected to work with the families of those who lost loved ones,” said Liphoko.
In the interests of transparency and in the pursuit of the principles of Batho Pele, Liphoko said government will ensure that the recommendations of the report guide investigations and remedial steps being undertaken by various departments.
“We fully appreciate how deeply this issue has touched the lives of the families and friends affected and offer our very deepest condolences,” said Liphoko.