Former Esidimeni boss says patients were in some instances accommodated at overcrowded hospitals

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Former Deputy Director-General of Mental Health Services in Gauteng, Hannah Jacobus, has told the Life Esidemeni inquest in the Pretoria High Court that mental health patients were in some instances accommodated at overcrowded hospitals.

She’s being cross-examined on her role regarding the transfer of mentally challenged patients from the Life Esidemeni facilities.

The inquest is probing the deaths of 144 mentally challenged patients after they were moved from Life Esidemeni to other facilities in June 2016.

Life Esidimeni Inquest | Suitability of NGOs under scrutiny:

The facilities were subsequently shut down by the Gauteng provincial government.

“In terms of hospital utilisation, there was a general call in a meeting by Dr Manamela to all NGO’s – because some of them did not have facilities. Six, seven people opted to occupy hospital bills throughout the province. And that was how the Pretoria ones were then utilised the Kalafong hospital.”

On Monday the presiding judge in the Life Esidimeni Inquest, Monoa Teffo, ruled that it remains the duty of the court to steer the proceedings in the right direction.

The judge argued counsel empowered by law to pose questions to the witness while at the same time the judge may intervene when necessary.

The ruling follows the submission by the legal representative of former Gauteng Head of Health Department Dr. Makgabo Manamela.

Her counsel questioned the judge’s intervention in the proceedings during the cross-examination of a witness.

They argued that it is not fair to their client. Judge Teffo made the following ruling on the matter.