Life Esidimeni Tragedy: North Gauteng Court to Release Inquest Findings on July 10

Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency/ANA

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria is set to rule in the Life Esidimeni inquest on July 10.

The inquest’s objective was to investigate who should be held accountable for the deaths of 141 mentally ill people who were moved from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in 2015 and 2016.

As a cost-cutting tactic, patients were transported to ill-equipped facilities without sufficient vigilance, resulting in starvation and hypothermia deaths.

Judge Mmonoa Teffo will make a recommendation to the National Prosecuting Authority on whether anyone should face criminal charges for the killings.

Section27 represented 44 mental health service users who died as a result of excessive negligence, with many of them emaciated, dehydrated, and suffering from bed sores.

At the inquest, Section27 claimed that former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, former Director of the Mental Health Directorate Dr. Makgabo Manamela, and the owner of Precious Angels NGO should be charged with culpable homicide for their roles in the victims’ terrible deaths.

Dr Makgabo Manamela insisted that she shouldn’t be blamed for the Life Esidemeni tragedy. File Photo:Sinenhlanhla Masilela/IOL

Former Gauteng Premier David Makhura told Life Esidimeni that when he questioned about the number of people that died, he was assured that fatalities of mental health patients at their facilities were regular and not unusual.

Makhura convened a meeting with former Gauteng MEC of Health Qedani Mahlangu after learning about patient deaths.

He stated that at the meeting, Mahlangu and her colleagues gave a presentation in which they compared the number of deaths in the past to what was now happening, concluding that it was a normal trend.

Hanna Jacobus told the Life Esidimeni arbitration that the former director of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela forced her not to follow procedure when vetting NGO’s. File Photo: Sinenhlanhla Masilela/ANA

During the inquest, Mahlangu accused Makhura of transferring mental health patients from Life Esidimeni to fraudulent care centers.

“The premier made the final decision to transfer the mental health patients,” Mahlangu explained at the time.

Section27 stated that while the ruling cannot restore lost lives and dignity, it has the potential to boost public confidence and strengthen accountability in governance.

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