If you want our votes next year, do the right thing - TAC warns Makhura
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has issued a stern warning to Gauteng Premier David Makhura to do the "right thing" or risk losing votes in the upcoming elections.
Makhura failed to show up to accept the organisation's memorandum at the legislature on Monday.
"We are disappointed by David Makhura. Where is he? Dololo (nothing)," general secretary Anele Yawa told angry activists outside the legislature.
The TAC marched to the Gauteng legislature on Tuesday to demand the removal of former health MECs Brian Hlongwa and Qedani Mahlangu, who have recently been elected to the Gauteng ANC's provincial executive committee.
"We are calling for the removal of these two individuals from the PEC who have contributed to the collapse of the health system in Gauteng," Yawa told News24.
Both MECs made headlines - Mahlangu for the Life Esidimeni tragedy that resulted in the death of more than 100 mentally-ill patient, and Hlongwa for alleged corruption to the tune of R1.2 billion which was revealed in a State Investigation Unit (SIU) report.
"The state has a duty to address the conduct of public officials that squander state resources, including investigating and prosecuting corruption. These officials should be held accountable, not put in senior positions," the advocacy group's provincial chairperson Fikile Mtsweni stated in the memorandum.
Opposition parties join
Catching wind of the protests outside, opposition parties came out in their numbers to support the TAC after they refused to leave the Gauteng legislature until Makhura addressed them.
"We are told David Makhura is not in the building and [speaker of the Gauteng legislature] Ntombi Mekgwe does not want to come out and address us. We are not leaving until they come out and address us," the TAC's Sibongile Tshabala told the marchers outside the legislature.
Democratic Alliance MPL Jack Bloom thanked the marchers for bringing attention to corruption which he said he had been trying to expose 10 years ago in the legislature.
"This has been a very long fight, but I think we are going to achieve something. This has gone on for 10 years where some of the most unbelievable corruption has taken place at the Gauteng health department and I raised it in the legislature," Bloom told marchers.
EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego also joined and commended the TAC for its bold action.
"If it was not for you, the SIU report would have never been made public. Your government knew of this report two years ago, but former president Jacob Zuma held on to it for political leverage but his mission failed. These are the types of NGOs that we need in Gauteng," Mashego said.
Mekgwe eventually came out to receive and sign the memorandum on behalf of the legislature.
"I am committed and will sign on behalf of the legislature and wish to clarify that the letter I received from the TAC about the march did not request the presence of the premier," she told the marchers.