Justice Moseneke, Esidimeni Inquiry findings not binding: Lawyers

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Lawyers for the former senior managers of the Gauteng Health Department have told the High Court in Pretoria that the findings of Justice Dikgang Moseneke and the Esidimeni Commission are not binding. This came out during closing arguments by the legal representatives at the Life Esidimeni Inquiry.

The Inquest seeks to determine whether anyone can be held criminally liable for the deaths of the 144 mental health patients during their relocation from Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped NGOs in June 2016.

It was crunch time for all legal teams as lawyers for witnesses who’ve been implicated in wrongdoing made their final push to have their clients cleared.

Legal representative Tasmia Arbee argued that former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu can’t be held criminally liable.

“Miss Mahlangu should be held responsible for the deaths she acted on the advice of the medical specialists and doctors involved and the decision was taken by the premier at the time David Makhura,” says Tasmia Arbee, Lawyer for Qedani Mahlangu.

He argued that the findings of the 2018 arbitration that was led by Moseneke are not binding.

“We as a team are of the view that the findings of Justice Moseneke and the commission are not binding on your ladyship,” Arbee added.

For former Head of Gauteng Health Dr Barney Selebano, his legal team has advised the court not to rely much on arbitration outcomes preceding the Life Esidimeni Inquest.

“The alleged bases on Dr Selebano’s involvement is confusing and contradictory, the test is even if the victim died of unnatural causes there is insufficient evidence to support that he died after the Esidimeni contract was cancelled,” says Henry Martin, Lawyer for Barney Selebano.

To say Gauteng Health Officials admitted culpability at the arbitration is simply not true, to accuse them of having conducted experiments on the 144 patients is startling that such submissions can be made. The inquiry continues.

Video: Life Esidimeni Inquiry – There is sufficient evidence to prosecute, Inquiry hears