Family members of the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy have rejected former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu’s apology.

They staged a walk-out on Thursday afternoon when she started to apologise during her closing remarks at the arbitration hearings in Parktown, Johannebsurg.

Mahlangu concluded her testimony on Thursday after a three-day grilling over the deaths of 143 mentally-ill patients.

She says while she takes political responsibility, she’s not directly to blame for the loss of life.

The former MEC has blamed senior departmental officials for the manner in which the relocation of patients from Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGOs was conducted.

As the hearings continue on Friday morning, family members say they were unhappy with Mahlangu’s testimony, as they believe she was not truthful.

“This was supposed to be about healing but what she did was to hurt the families even more with her attitude and her arrogance. This was supposed to be closure but she just provoked us, she didn’t show any remorse,” says a family member.