More witnesses, including the Gauteng Health Department’s former Deputy Director-General for Mental Health Services Hannah Jacobus, are expected to testify in the Life Esidimeni Inquest from Monday.
The inquest that probes the deaths of 144 mentally ill patients resumes in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday morning. Most of the patients died of hunger and neglect after former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu terminated the department’s contract with Life Esidimeni in 2016.The patients were then moved to ill-equipped NGOs. Section 27 legal researcher, Mbali Baduza says they’re optimistic that there will be progress on the inquest after numerous postponements last year.
“Section 27 welcomes the resumption of the Life Esidimeni Inquest this week. It remains an important process to achieve accountability and justice for the 144 mental health care users who died during the Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project of 2016. After several procedural delays last year, we hope that the process can now move forward uninterrupted so that the high court can make its determination whether there’s any criminal liability on the part of Gauteng Health officials or NGO owners.
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