Gauteng Premier David Makhura. FILE PHOTO: ANA

Johannesburg - The attempt by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng to remove Premier David Makhura over the Life Esidimeni tragedy is a cheap political ploy in order to take over the province, said Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa on Tuesday.

"We respect the wishes of the families that this tragedy not be used to score political points. When we reflect on this tragedy we do so with heavy hearts ... the DA wants to take over Gauteng at all costs, including trampling on the wish of the families," she told the legislature during motion of no confidence debate brought against Makhura by the DA.

Makhura has nothing to hide and subjected himself to public scrutiny and appeared before the arbitration hearing, she said.

John Moodley, head of the DA in the province, said Makhura and his executive team contravened chapter 2 of the Constitution in their handling of transferal of psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni to unlicensed NGOs, where over 140 of them died from negligence and general lack of care.

READ: Life Esidimeni: R250m bungle

"Gauteng has lost confidence in Makhura and he should be removed from office. He should have done the honourable thing and resigned...144 people were sentenced to their death, treated worse than animals and transported in bakkies," Moodley said.

He said the resignation by former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu following the scandal was not a noble act, as she was never remorseful.

The debate on the no-confidence motion continues.

African News Agency/ANA