The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has adjourned the Life Esidimeni Inquest until mid-November.
Some of the NGOs still do not have legal representation and funding for legal costs respectively.
The inquest was established to determine who should be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 mental health care patients.
The inquest into the deaths of 144 mentally ill patients continues:
The Health Ombudsman’s findings revealed that most patients died of hunger and dehydration after being transferred from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGO’s.
Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu shut down the Life Esidimeni Centres in June 2016 citing financial difficulties among others.
Judge Mmonoa Teffo says the adjournment will enable stakeholders ample time to reorganize themselves.
“As I understand what we must do is that we should be having this case management meetings in order to pave a way for the proceedings to proceed on the 15th of November. We want to avoid the situation when the date comes then we will be having these other problems.”
“So, the proceedings of today are therefore adjourned to the 15th of November 2021. In the meantime we will be having a case management meeting on Friday 8 October,” explains Teffo.
In September, former deputy director-general of Clinical Services in the Gauteng Health Department, Dr Richard Lebethe told the inquest that former Gauteng Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu was alerted to the concerns of possible relapse of patients prior to the transfer if quickly moved to unfamiliar environment.
During cross-examination, Dr Lebethe told lawyers of the families of the deceased that Mahlangu was the first person to tell him about the deaths.
Dr Lebethe also told the court that the bodies of deceased patients were only handed to the families for burial once postmortems were conducted.
Life Esidimeni inquest continues to hear evidence from a former senior nurse: