No Mes­siah will save us

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Tha­bile Mange via email

Afew years ago, 34 peo­ple were mas­sa­cred in Marikana by the po­lice and we were not out­raged. Now, more than 94 men­tally ill pa­tients have died as a re­sult of the Gaut­eng health depart­ment’s ill-con­ceived de­ci­sion to move them from Life Esidi­meni to un­li­censed non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions. Still we are not out­raged.

The per­ti­nent ques­tion is: What will it take for us to be out­raged? Are 94 dead bod­ies not enough for us to stand up and say, enough is enough?

One day this gov­ern­ment is go­ing to kill all of us and there will be no one left to tell the story. Mark my words.

Af­ter the health om­buds­man, who was com­mis­sioned to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter, an­nounced that 94 (and still count­ing) men­tally ill pa­tients had died in Gaut­eng, I thought we were go­ing to con­front the gov­ern­ment and de­mand some answers.

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I was wrong. As it is now, we have for­got­ten about the mat­ter and are mov­ing on with our lives as if noth­ing has hap­pened. How noble!

Men­tally ill pa­tients are some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our so­ci­ety. They need our care, love, sup­port and, most of all, pro­tec­tion.

But what do we do? We kill them. What kind of a so­ci­ety have we be­come? His­tory is go­ing to judge us harshly.

A night be­fore the health om­buds­man an­nounced his find­ings on the men­tally ill pa­tients saga, the for­mer Gaut­eng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu ten­dered her res­ig­na­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, Mahlangu was forced to re­sign by the premier. In her res­ig­na­tion let­ter, she didn’t sound re­morse­ful – no com­fort for the fam­i­lies of the de­ceased.

The per­ti­nent ques­tion is: Wasn’t Gaut­eng Premier David Makhura sup­posed to re­sign as well? I mean, 94 peo­ple have died un­der Makhura’s watch.

The like­able premier claimed to have had no knowl­edge of the con­di­tions that the men­tally ill pa­tients were sub­jected to. In­ter­est­ingly, Sec­tion 27 says he knew. It is clear that our lib­er­a­tors are turn­ing into our op­pres­sors. And it seems we are wait­ing for a Mes­siah from some­where to come and save us.

Well I have news: There is no Mes­siah who is com­ing to save us. We need to save our­selves.

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