Gauteng Premier David Makhura accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) of using the pain suffered by the families of the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy to try and get rid of him because they could not accuse him of being corrupt.
"We have no corruption scandal here. They (the DA) are searching every day and everywhere but they are finding nothing.
"We are not corrupt. They cannot accuse me of being corrupt. They cannot accuse me of stealing money from poor people so they must find something. Unfortunately they are so heartless and have no shame, that they used the pain of our people. The families of Life Esidimeni," said Makhura.
He was speaking in front of members of the African National Congress (ANC) who had gathered at the Johannesburg City Hall shortly after he survived a motion of no confidence against him in the Gauteng legislature.
The motion was brought by the DA for his role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
A total of 144 psychiatric patients died after being moved from Life Esidimeni homes to various unlicensed NGOs. Many of the families had not been informed about the intention to move their loved ones.
27 for, 38 against
Some family members found their loved ones in mortuaries and, in some cases, after post-mortems had been conducted, plastic and paper were found in their stomachs.
During the motion of no confidence on Tuesday, 65 out of 72 members of legislature voted.
Of those, 27 voted in favour of the motion while 38 voted against.
Six members were absent and one person abstained.
Gauteng DA leader John Moodey said Makhura should have resigned after the tragedy.
"This ANC government killed innocent people," said Moodey.
African National Congress MP and Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramakgopa said: "We will respect the wishes of the families that their tragedy should not be used for cheap and narrow political gains."
She said the party reflected on this tragedy with a heavy heart.
'We are not proud'
The Economic Freedom Fighters's (EFF's) Mandisa Mashego said: "You killed those people alone, not with us. The MEC must not try and make us feel guilty for the deaths. We opened a case against you."
The Inkatha Freedom Party's Bonginkosi Dhlamini said no tabling of motions could heal the loss felt by the families.
"We believe that the buck stops with him."
However, he said while Makhura was the head of the provincial government, each member of the provincial legislature should take responsibility because the tragedy happened under their administration.
This is the second motion of no confidence against the Gauteng premier. Last year the EFF tabled a motion against Makhura, also around Life Esidimeni.
Makhura thanked members for their support and the vote of confidence in their leadership. He said the ANC was encouraged by the support.
"But we are not proud of what we did with Life Esidimeni. That so many of our people lost their lives in institutions they went to because there was no one to look after them.
"Something went profoundly wrong... We are not proud of it and that is why we are going to do everything to correct every single government institution, whether a school or police station. People must be treated with respect and with dignity."
DA 'power hungry'
Makhura told the crowd that he was still the premier of Gauteng and that if something goes wrong in any government department, he must give an account of his efforts towards solving the problem.
"And if I do not say that I did something to correct it, I must face the people of our province because at the end it is the people that elected us."
Makhura accused the DA of being hungry for power in the province.
"They do not want to wait for next year's elections. They know that the ANC has come from Nasrec (elective conference) strong and moving forward."
Officials at the health department and former MEC Qedani Mahlangu were largely blamed for their decision to transfer patients from Life Esidimeni facilities.
Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke ordered that Makhura's government pay R1.2-million in compensation to each family that lost a loved one in the tragedy.