Proceedings in the Life Esidimeni Inquest have wrapped up in the High Court in Pretoria.
More than 140 mental health patients died after they were moved from Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped and poorly resourced NGOs.
Many of the patients died from starvation, dehydration, and neglect. Civil rights group, Section 27, wants former Head of Gauteng Mental Health Services Dr Mmakgabo Manamela, former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, and Ethel Ncube, the owner of Precious Angels, the NGO where 20 mental health patients died, to be charged with culpable homicide, while AfriForum wants the court to recommend murder charges.
Judge Mmonoa Teffo presided over the inquiry.
“I want to thank every one of you who has made their submissions to this inquest court. I believe and trust they will assist this court to make proper findings. The proceedings for today and the hearing of evidence for this matter have now been concluded. What is left is for the court to make its findings and recommendations,” says Judge Teffo.
A legal representative for several non-governmental organisations in the Life Esidimeni inquest in the High Court in Pretoria has suggested that the role of the facility should be considered in investigating the tragic deaths of 144 mentally ill patients.
“If you look at the periodic reports, for many users those were extremely outdated, so the NGOs couldn’t rely on how the user was cared for or where his health stands in the last year and that is where the submission is based. That it interrupted continuous care because no matter the avenues the NGO tried, there was no way on this records to determine the care treatment, and rehabilitative services for the users,” says Advocate Ebenezer Prophy representing three NGOs.