Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has denied that it was Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi’s decision to shut down NGOs in the province as details of dying mentally ill patients emerged. Mahlangu says her department had already begun with that process when the minister’s team came on board.

After visiting Precious Angels NGO in August 2016, Mahlangu says she was concerned about the state of the facility, overcrowding and food shortages. But she wasn’t yet aware of the deaths.

Mahlangu spent the whole of Wednesday being cross-examined by Section27’s Advocate Adila Hassim at the Life Esidimeni hearings in Johannesburg.

“The minister’s team joined our initiative and we went together to the NGOs. Why would he need to put together a team if you were doing everything necessary? He was sending a team of experts to support what we were doing in the province. So when the Ombud says the minister sent a team urgently, and that they were the ones who made the decision to close down the NGOs, you say that was not true? It is factually incorrect, and I said it in my engagement with him, it’s factually incorrect.”

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