Former Life Esidimeni employee Nonceba Sennelo has told the inquest into the deaths of 144 mentally-ill patients that they were denied funding prior to patients being moved to new facilities.
Six of the 36 witnesses have already concluded their testimony.
Sennelo said under cross-examination that the former Gauteng Health Department’s Mental Health Director, Dr Mmakgabo Manamela didn’t reply to their funding request.
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About 2 000 psychiatric patients were transferred to ill-equipped and unlicensed facilities in 2016 after the department ordered the shutting down of the Life Esidimeni project.
Sennelo argued that she was not aware of any feedback from the department with regard to possible funding.
“I was not aware of any feedback. And my problem was that there was nothing done because there were no funds for start-ups that were given afterward. So I did not get any report that funds are available or not. No feedback that she has signed or processed it. I even said I didn’t get any feedback that she did sign the letter or not,” says Sennelo.
Life Esidimeni I Inquest into deaths of at least 144 mental health patients – live proceedings