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“I Don’t Know‚ It Was A Complex Process” – Esidimeni Project Leader

The arbitration hearing is set down for three weeks for families of loved ones who died when moved from Esidimeni to NGOs to find “closure“. The state has admitted wrongdoing‚ but it has not called the head of department‚ Barney Selebano‚ and former MEC Qedani Mahlangu‚ who headed the project‚ as witnesses.

Mosenogi made admissions showing a serious lack of preparation for patient’s safety.

Under cross-examination‚ he admitted he didn’t have a written transport plan detailing how emergency services staff would move about 1‚700 patients from Life Esidimeni in a month or two into homes.

“It was not a written plan. That is why Mr… [head of emergency services and ambulances] would assist us.”

This chaos resulted in patients being transported on the back of bakkies and tied up‚ said former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.

“Patients had to be tied up. Their limbs had to be tied up‚ while transported.”

Mosenogi said: “I wasn’t aware of that.”

Mosenogi was asked by legal aid advocate Lilla Crouse if medical files of patients had been organised for patients. She wanted to know if clinics near NGOs were warned about the new psychiatric patients so they could order psychiatric medicines in order to treat them.

He said two doctors were in charge of the medical aspects of the project‚ but he was unable to remember one of the two doctors’ names.

When asked to testify under oath that doctors in the project had ensured clinics and NGOs were ready for the psychiatric patients‚ Mosenogi wouldn’t.

He was also asked if there were patients without ID numbers at Life Esidimeni.

Identity numbers were needed for NGOs to apply for disability grants in order to pay for patients.

Crouse asked: “Are you saying that there are people who didn’t have names and surnames in the facilities?“

He said: “I can’t answer that directly‚ because I was not involved in nitty gritty.”

Even though he was in charge of ensuring ID numbers for patients‚ he didn’t answer clearly.

Moseneke told the arbitration hearing that more than 500 patients didn’t have ID numbers.

This means the NGOs were unable to get money for the patients through grants.

They only received R112 a day and on Tuesday Mosenogi suggested they needed to fundraise for the rest of the money for state patients.

Mosenogi said: “As a leader of project team I can’t say much. I should have checked more to ensure these things happened. It was a complex process. It was a lot of things.

“Sometimes when you look back you could have done things better.”

Family member Mariana Jamnik-Schmidt said of the testimony: “He is being scapegoated. It is not fair. He did his job better.”

“Where is Qedani Mahlangu? Why must be he be alone [on the stand]? Where are his bosses?”

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Written by GR

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