Helen Zille slammed for 'insensitive' #LifeEsidimeni tweet
Johannesburg - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille on Tuesday once again came under fire over a tweet regarding the compensation awarded to families of the psychiatric patients who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
On Monday, retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke awarded more than R250 million to 144 family members of psychiatric patients who died when they were moved from Life Esidimeni facilities to unregistered NGOs.
The compensation will also be awarded to about 68 survivors of the so-called Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project.
Moseneke also ordered that each family be paid R1m for constitutional damages, R180 000 for trauma and shock, R20 000 for funeral expenses, all of which should be paid within three months.
The money excludes the claimants' legal fees and counselling which are expected to also run into millions.
Reacting to the announcement, Zille tweeted that while it was good that the families had received "a measure of justice and compensation" she questioned what they had done to raise the alarm before the tragedy occurred.
"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?"
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?— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 20, 2018
This tweet did not go well with Tweeps, who called the controversial Western Cape leader's question "cruel" and "insensitive".
See some of the reaction to Zille's tweet:
What a cruel question; after all the testimony given by family members.— Shawn Abdoll (@MavicXRider) March 20, 2018
You clearly have been living under a rock this whole time. This profoundly insensitive question has been ventilated to death (excuse the pun) by both the health ombudsman and the Justice Moseneke's arbitration hearing. Alarms were raised long before the deaths.— Black Butterfly 🇿🇦 (@lunabellesoar) March 20, 2018
Not fair :-(— Daniëlla van Heerden (@DanniTwiet) March 20, 2018
Families were not equipped to look after them, didn't have the means to make alarm. Bertha Molefe from Soweto TRIED to look after her daughter Sophia on her own - Sophia then overdosed on her medication.
Many of them did raise the alarm Helen, they were simply ignored. The stories came out in the hearings.— Cynthia Lewis (@lewisbabes) March 20, 2018
This tweet shows our politicians don't read or listen. Hw is it possible that after months of testimony and reporting, you still don't knw the answer to your question?Why didn't you dig a little deeper before asking?So much money spent but you didn't HEAR a word they had to say.— Carmen Abdoll (@CAbdoll) March 20, 2018
With all due respect Helen Zille, it is time for you to hang up your political shoes.— Andri Hanekom (@SARolfer) March 20, 2018
I am sorry, but you do not have the political intuition, insight, and empathy to be a political leader in the present South Africa.
This tweet will cost your party!