The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng says it is considering legal action, to ensure that former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and senior health officials pay for the Life Esidimeni compensation costs from their own pockets.

The Gauteng government has paid almost R160 million to 134 claimants in the Life Esidimeni tragedy. Last month, an additional 200 compensation claims were lodged by families of affected patients. These new claims are set to cost the provincial government R236 million.

At least 144 mentally-ill patients died in 2016, after the Gauteng Health Department moved 1700 of them from Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped NGOs

The DA’s Jack Bloom says it’s unfair for the taxpayer to foot the bill for the department’s blunder.

Bloom says, “The key question is, why should the taxpayer have to pay for the damages paid for the Esidimeni victims? We think the former health MEC and officials concerned should pay from their own money. I have not heard back from the provincial government after giving them 60 days to reply to my letter, asking them to recover the money from the former MEC and the officials.”

“The DA is now looking at different legal options to compel the provincial government to take those steps,” added Bloom.