Consumer Price Index partly influenced yearly tariff increases: former Esidimeni manager

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Former managing director of the Life Esidimeni group, Doctor Morgan Mkhatshwa, is back on the stand at the inquest into the tragic deaths of 144 mentally-ill patients.

The inquest sitting in the High Court in Pretoria resumed on Monday morning following a four-week break. The patients died between March and December 2016 after the Gauteng Health government moved them from Esidimeni to various ill-equipped NGOs.

Life Esidimeni charged the department at least R250 million per annum for just over 2 000 patients.

Mkhatshwa, who was questioned about the escalating year-on-year tariff increases, told the inquest that the Consumer Price Index partly influenced them.

“You will also take cognisant of the fact that there were certain years where we struggled to get any tariff increase. So, those would then be borne by company and had to be made up for in another year. So, all those factors would need to be done so that you get a full picture as (to) why the numbers increased the way you are mentioning there,” says Mkhatshwa.

Lawyers for former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu question Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa:

Meanwhile, former mental health director in the Health Department in Gauteng, Dr Makgabo Mamamela, was forced to find new legal representation after lawyers for the Gauteng government raised concerns over having to represent her and some officials who have contradicting statements.

Several NGOs had also just obtained legal representation.

The inquest will decide whether officials and political players are criminally liable for the deaths.

The victims died from neglect, malnutrition, and hunger after being transferred from Life Esidimeni to various NGOs, some of which were unlicenced.

The Gauteng Health Department had embarked on the move in a bid to “deinstitutionalise” mental healthcare and save costs.

Unpacking the Life Esidimeni Inquest: