Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: GCIS.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: GCIS.

Gauteng premier David Makhura will appoint an independent curator who will ensure that all the decisions of retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke on the inquiry into the Life Esidimeni tragedy are implemented.

Makhura delivered his state of the province address on Monday, and reiterated that "serious governance failures" compromised the quality of care of millions of people who depended on the public health system.

More than 140 patients died after the Gauteng government moved patients with mental health illnesses from Life Esidimeni, a private healthcare provider, to unregistered NGOs.

"The people of Gauteng, I would like to reiterate that the death of 144 Life Esidimeni mental health patients is a tragedy that has left deep wounds and pain in the collective memory of our democratic nation. It is something that should have never happened and should never happen again," Makhura said, reiterating that the province had budgeted enough money for mental healthcare services.

"I would like to reiterate that the transfer of mental health care patients to ill-equipped and unlawfully operating NGOs was never approved by myself or the Gauteng executive council," Makhura said.

He added that, as head of government in the province, he had taken full responsibility and accountability for the loss of life.

"I cannot pass the buck. I am the premier of this province. The buck stops with me. I take responsibility for anything that goes wrong in the administration I lead. I must face the people and fix the problem," Makhura said.

He added that he was committed to take the corrective and remedial action to ensure that it never happened again.

"I have made a public commitment that I will work tirelessly with the families to ensure that those who are criminally liable, as determined by the relevant law enforcement agencies, are prosecuted so that the cause of justice is served," Makhura said.

He said the outcomes of Moseneke’s alternative dispute resolution were keenly awaited.

Makhura called on the DA and EFF to work with him to sort out healthcare in the province.