Court asked to hold Mahlangu liable for Life Esidimeni deaths

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The legal representatives of families of the mental health patients who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy say there’s sufficient evidence to prosecute those responsible for their deaths.

Civil society organisation Section 27 has asked the High Court in Pretoria to hold former Gauteng Health MEC Qedane Mahlangu criminally liable for the deaths after she shut the facility citing budget cuts.

The inquest that has resumed aims to determine if anyone can be held criminally liable for the deaths of the 144 patients during the relocation from the Life Esidimeni in June 2016.

Advocate Nasreen Rajab-Budlender representing the South African Depression and Anxiety Group and 44 families of the deceased patients, wants the owner of Princess Angel NGO, Ethel Ncube to be held accountable for the deaths of the patients under her care.

“Ms Ncube kept on taking mental users even after her first patient died in the facility, she continued to do so. And she may not contend that she was put in this situation. And that her conduct was not responsible for the deaths of the mental health patients. We submit that she is prima facie liable for deaths and here we mean ones who were at the Princess Angels,” Rajab-Budlender said.