Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Thursday said he rejects the lies and falsehood being spread by the DA's Jack Bloom relating to the 365 Life Esidimeni claimants not having received payment yet.
In a statement, Makhura said Bloom had deliberately twisted his oral reply presented during the sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on Tuesday.
"In his written reply, Premier Makhura emphatically stated that 'the provincial government has paid 134 claimants named by retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke by 15 June 2018. These were the claimants who appeared at the Arbitration Hearing. After the Arbitration Award was issued on 19 March 2018, the provincial government received 365 additional claims,' spokesperson to the Premier, Castro Ngobese said.
Makhura said the "insinuations" peddled by Bloom were baseless.
"Firstly, all the claims received are subjected to an assessment and verification process. Secondly, government must establish the proximity of the relationship of the claimant to the Mental Health Care User. Thirdly, government must be satisfied that the claimant is by law recognised to claim (i.e. the rightful person) and be paid the compensation. These steps are done to ensure that we do not pay wrong people and later we get sued. We want to protect the interest of the Mental Health Care Users, their estates, families and the state," Makhura said.
This comes after the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday said 365 claimants of the Life Esidimeni tragedy are still to receive compensation as determined by Justice Moseneke’s Arbitration ruling.
Bloom had said he thinks it is unlikely that all the victims will be paid by the time Makhura ends his term of office, which is on 8 May 2019, and that this is a sad comment given by Makhura on a tragedy that will always "blight" his premiership.
"It is shameful that he has not given a higher priority to expediting full financial redress for the suffering of the Esidimeni victims," said Bloom.
African News Agency (ANA)