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Minister of Health or Mass Murderer? Excerpt from Lauren Beukes and Nechama Brodie’s Maverick

MaverickIn Maverick: Extraordinary women from South Africa’s past Lauren Beukes and Nechama Brodie tell the story of some of our most famous and infamous women.

Killers, singers, strippers and revolutionaries populate the pages of Maverick; the only thing these real historical characters have in common is that they were – for better or worse – far from ordinary.

News24 has shared an edited excerpt from the book that deals with the much-maligned late Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

Read the excerpt:

In December 2009, in Johannesburg’s exclusive Donald Gordon Medical Centre, a woman lay dying. There may well have been the backbeat of life-support machines – she was in the ICU after all – and there was certainly a heavy media presence, enough that security guards were posted at the door to her room. But this was no Brenda Fassie. While the bed’s occupant was undoubtedly one of the most notorious women in South Africa, there were no legions of fans praying for her recovery.

In fact, if people were praying at all, it might have been for things to go the other way. Which sounds like a perfectly horrible thing to say, but then again, no one really expects polite condolences for a mass murderer.

Between June 1999 and September 2008, the woman in the hospital bed had been responsible for an estimated 330 000 preventable deaths.

What made the incomprehensible figure worse was that she was no arbitrary murderess, not even a Daisy de Melker. She had been the minister of health.

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