Life Esidimeni Family Committee members frustrated over inquest delays

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Life Esidimeni Family Committee member, Christine Nxumalo, has spoken of the affected families’ frustration over the continuing postponement of the inquest into the tragic death of at least 144 mentally ill patients.

The inquest has been postponed until August 30 to give parties who have just obtained legal representation to familiarise themselves with the proceedings.

This is the second time in as many weeks that the inquest is being postponed for consultations.

Witnesses could also not be called due to the closure of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) offices for COVID-19 decontamination.

The inquest is seeking to determine if anyone should be criminally charged for the deaths which happened after the Gauteng Department of Health transferred mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped facilities to save costs.

Nxumalo says although those accused of the deaths are trying to delay the inquest, the families are resolute in getting finality to the matter.

“The feeling yesterday was that they just stalling, they are just buying time they are delaying, and they have gotten used to this. That seems to be their way of delaying the process from moving on. But it is not going [to] change … the families want to go forward that is for certain,” explains Nxumalo.

Legal representation for former Head of Gauteng Health Makgabo Manamela to challenge Justice Moseneke’s arbitration report: