Today I led a picket outside the Premier’s Office to remember the victims of the avoidable Esidimeni tragedy and to ensure that vulnerable South Africans are given the dignity they deserve, and the families of the victims are given justice.
At its core, good Government should do at least three things – build structures that allow business to flourish and jobs to be available, provide infrastructure so people and goods can move from place to place, and finally, protect the vulnerable and the poor.
The ANC has failed on all three accounts. Corruption has killed jobs and efficient service delivery, and the Esidimeni tragedy shows us that the ANC, once again, puts its own interests before the interests of the Nation.
There is no better example of ANC corruption than Esidimeni. It is hard to imagine the party of Nelson Mandela becoming a criminal syndicate that will kill people in order to provide their own with tenders. But it is fact, and Esidimeni is the proof.
Yet instead of the tragedy becoming a wake-up call that would shake their leaders into action against corruption, the Esidimeni Bloody 3 closed ranks.
Cyril Rhamaposa, the public face of the ANC hugged MEC Qedani Mahlangu after the tragedy was exposed, and famously said, “Once a Comrade, Always a Comrade”.
Premier David Makhura, cowardly hid. Instead of showing leadership expected of the Premier, demanding accountability, and punishing the murderers, David Makhura went into hiding, saying nothing.
And MEC Qedani Mahlangu, directly responsible for the tragedy, removing not only the victims dignity but putting them directly in harm’s way leading to their death, was allowed to retire with a full pension and blood on her hands. Instead of a prison cell, Qedani Mahlangu is living behind guarded walls in the suburbs, living off of the people’s money.
No apology and no amount of money can ever give the victims peace, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try.
Therefore I demand the following:
1: Qedani Mahlangu is financially and criminally liable for the Esidimeni tragedy and should be made to pay towards the compensation of the families of the victims of Esidimeni. Progress should be made in the criminal case against her in order for justice to be served to the families of the Esidimeni victims. The Criminal Justice system should not protect Qedani from accountability.
2: David Makhura should come clean, acknowledge his responsibility, apologize and expedite compensation to the victims’ families.
3: Finally, President Ramaphosa should denounce Qedani Mahlangu instead of hugging her. We understand that Cyril Ramaphosa is powerless to remove the corrupt top six who have stolen millions, powerless to change the structures of the party that enables criminal behavior, and powerless to change the culture of criminality inside the ANC, but that doesn’t excuse his behavior of hugging Qedani Mahlangu whose actions has led to the deaths of the powerless.