Why we walked out of the Life Esidimeni debate – DA

Issued by Mike Moriarty –
04 Dec 2019 in Press Statements

The tragedy that is Life Esidimeni will continue until justice has been done. This is by no means frivolous. Any action that brings people to account is not frivolous. Dismissing this call for accountability is frivolous.

The ANC cannot escape accountability by attacking the DA. They say we are displaying insensitivity to the families of the victims. Actually, the families of the victims of the ANC’s so-called Marathon Project will receive justice when those responsible for their loss sit in jail and not in luxury. The families of the victims will only receive some comfort when those responsible for their pain pay for their crimes, even financially where permitted by law.

The DA’s Jack Bloom tabled a motion that called upon the Premier to extract costs from Qedani Mahlangu and two officials for their part in causing the deaths of 144 people in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

The motion can be viewed here.

There is a law called the Apportionment of Damages Act. It is through that law that the taxpayers of Gauteng can recover some of the money needed to pay out compensation to those impacted by the ANC’s so-called Marathon Project. The ANC says that our motion was illegal. How can the application of law be illegal?

But it is clear that the ANC needs to shield Qedani Mahlangu. They don’t want her penalised in any way because she knows too much about the corruption of those still in office. They will protect her at all costs so that she does not blow the whistle on them.

We witnessed this yesterday in the debate on our Life Esidimeni motion as follows:

  • We witnessed the worst form of heckling ever seen in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.
  • One of the EFF speakers was completely inaudible because of the sustained noise coming from the ANC benches.
  • The ANC heckling induced counter-heckling from the other parties.
  • The Speaker took an inordinately long time to bring order and only intervened at the demand of the DA’s Chief Whip.
  • But even then the Speaker chose to call to order the individual hecklers from the opposition parties and did not single out the noise-makers in the ANC.
  • Eventually, she appealed to her ANC colleagues to allow the EFF speaker to speak.
  • But this limp-wristed action was too much for half the ANC caucus who went off to the coffee lounge until the end of the EFF speech.
  • But worse was yet to come:
    • The Speaker illegally ruled out the possibility of a vote in this matter, even though this was a decision of the Programming Committee
    • Clearly the ANC did not have the numbers to defeat the motion and so the Speaker aided and abetted her comrades in subverting democracy.
    • Attempts to raise a point of order in this regard were met with disruption and insults

The Speaker and the ANC rejected a serious attempt to bring to justice to those impacted by Life Esidimeni and reduced the democratic proceedings to a sham. That’s why the DA protested. That’s why the DA walked out.

But we will not leave it here. We have already initiated processes to overturn the Speaker’s ruling. The guilty ones can run, but they cannot hide. If needs be, we will go to Court.