Members of the Esidimeni Bereaved Families’ Committee say the slow pace of delivering justice is making it practically impossible for them to find closure after losing their loved ones.
The committee will on Saturday host a healing session in Johannesburg. The aim is for all bereaved families to support each other and remember their loved ones.
This is the first gathering in more than two years because the families could not meet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Life Esidimeni tragedy involved the deaths of 144 mentally-ill patients facilities in Gauteng from causes including starvation and neglect. The High Court in Pretoria is currently holding an inquest into the possibility of establishing criminal liability for the deaths of the patients following their removal from Life Esidemeni to ill equipped and unlicensed NGOs in 2016.
A committee member, Christine Nxumalo, says they desperately need closure.
“The fact that it’s so slow, is painful and it hurts and it makes recovery and getting over it and healing more difficult. But the fact that there is movement is encouraging. One of the things in South Africa, with justice moving so slow, it doesn’t deter people from doing the wrong thing. This is what we worry about, that if the vulnerable can die in such a horrific way, but when justice has to take place, it takes so long. But, we can’t give up and I think it’s the one one thing that keeps us going, is that we can’t afford to give up,” says Nxumalo.
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