Nokukhanya Mntambo2 May 2023 | 10:00

Mahlangu says Makhura, others complicit in Life Esidimeni contract termination

In her testimony at the Life Esidimeni inquest, Qedani Mahlangu said both Makhura and then-Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy were well aware of the decision.

Mahlangu says Makhura, others complicit in Life Esidimeni contract termination

FILE: Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu gives testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing in Johannesburg on 22 January 2018. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has made damning claims against former premier David Makhura at the Life Esidimeni inquest.

Mahlangu accused Makhura of making the final decision to terminate the long-standing contract with the private psychiatric hospital.


The contentious 2015 decision led to the death of 144 mental health patients who were moved to ill-equipped NGOs in parts of the province.

Mahlangu testified at the inquest, which is set to determine if anyone should be held criminally liable for the tragedy.

She told the Pretoria High Court the former premier's budget committee ordered the department to cut some costs in the cash-strapped portfolio.

While the Life Esidimeni contract wasn't initially up for debate, Mahlangu said it was eventually terminated after a back-and-forth between officials.

"The department was told through me, of course, and the officials who accompanied me to the budget committee that we must go back and look for items and contracts or activities that will help the department to cut costs."

Her lawyer, Laurence Hodes, went on to ask who made the decision to terminate.

In her response, Mahlangu also implicated then-Gauteng finance MEC, Barbara Creecy.

"The decision to terminate was made through the budget committee, and the premier was alive to all that was happening, including MEC Creecy."

While Makhura testified at the 2017 arbitration, he will not be part of the ongoing inquest.