Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has been slammed on Twitter for being “insensitive” and “cruel” to the suffering of families affected by the Life Esidimeni tragedy in Gauteng.
This after former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke on Monday awarded R1.2 million to each of the families of the deceased and surviving mental health patients in the Life Esidimeni tragedy following the botched relocation in 2016 of almost 2 000 patients to unlicensed NGOs in the province, which resulted in the deaths of 144 people.
Of the R1.2 million sum, R20 000 is to cover the funeral costs and R180 000 for the shock and trauma to the families of the patients who died.
Government was, in addition, set to pay the legal costs for the arbitration and was ordered to provide trauma counselling for up to three family members for each patient, alive or surviving.
Zille tweeted on Tuesday that even though the families had received “a measure of justice and compensation”, what did they do before the tragic deaths to raise awareness about their loved ones’ conditions at the NGOs, which irked many Twitter users.
“It is good that the families of the Life Esidimeni victims have received a measure of justice and compensation. I would like an answer to this question: What did they do, before these tragic deaths, to raise the alarm about their loved ones starving + living in profound neglect? [sic]”
Many tweeps thought that Zille’s tweet was insensitive as many of the families had raised awareness about the plight of their loved ones and were ignored by officials as proven by the Health Ombudsman and during testimony provided at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings.