Former Gauteng MEC of Finance, Barbara Creecy has told the Life Esidimeni inquest in the High Court in Pretoria that the Premier’s Budget Committee never ordered the termination of the Life Esidimeni contract.
Creecy testified that cost-containment measures that were only put in place were only meant to reduce expenditure but not to shut statutory services that catered to mentally-ill patients.
The closure of Life Esidimeni facilities in 2016 led to the deaths of 144 patients.
Creecy and former Gauteng Premier, David Makhura were cited by former MEC for Health, Qedani Mahlangu as being part of the collective decision, to relocate over 3 000 mentally-ill patients.
Creecy said, “My understanding is that mental health services are statutory services. The PBC would not in it’s normal functioning cut any statutory service. I can tell you this because I used to be the MEC of Education once upon a time. The PBC would never have said to me, close schools, we don’t have enough money for schools, close schools. It was not practice in the provincial government for MECs to be given instructions by anybody whether the Budget Council or the Executive Council to close statutory services.”
VIDEO: SABC news senior reporter Nozintombi Miya interviewed on Creecy’s testimony: