Twitter / DA
Some of the Life Esidimeni families were at the memorial service and accepted Maimane’s apology.
Twitter / DA
DA leader, Mmusi Maimane has been on the road to redemption lately. On Thursday, the leader of South Africa’s biggest opposition party led a memorial service in honour of the lives that were lost at Life Esidimeni.
Patients from the mental health facility were shipped to unlicensed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) without the permission of their families.
Many of them were found dead and in the worst condition imaginable and more have yet to be accounted for.
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The DA has laid the blame on the ANC-led government, and last week, the party launched an “ANC is Killing Us” campaign to supposedly echo the voices of victims’ families and many others who have died under the watch of the ruling party.
Maimane, in his address at the memorial service, admitted that erecting the billboard, without the approval of the families, was insensitive.
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“I know there has been much debate around our decision to print these names. It was not a decision we rushed into or took lightly. We discussed it at great length and decided to go ahead because the ultimate goal – justice and closure – was too important to compromise on.
“But I also know that this decision may have re-opened wounds of the victims’ loved ones, and for
thatI apologise. I can only imagine how distressing the past three years must have been for them, and it was never our intention to add to this distress,” Maimane stated.
Together with some of the family members who publicly accepted the party’s apology, Maimane assured his supporters that they would continue to work hard in trying to find justice for the victims.
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“I also want to assure you that we will not be intimidated and obstructed by the ANC government in our efforts to seek justice. We will not allow them to silence us by diverting attention away from their role in these deaths.
We will not allow those ultimately responsible for the deaths and disappearances – people like Premier David Makhura and former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu – to dodge their responsibilities and evade the law. As Makhura said, the buck stops with him. We will see that it does,” he said