A former managing director at Life Esidimeni, Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa, has told the inquest into the deaths of at least 144 mental health care patients in the High Court in Pretoria that there was no way the patients could have been discharged from the facility without the necessary documentation.

The patients were transferred from Esidimeni to various ill-equipped non-governmental organisations (NGOs) after the department in Gauteng terminated its contract with Life Esidimeni Group in 2015 due to financial constraints.

Most of the patients died between March and December 2016 from neglect and hunger.

Some arrived at the private facilities without identification, medical reports and personal belongings.

Mkhatshwa says Life Esidemini supplied their discharge summaries when the patients left and there have been no reported discrepancies on the matter.

Mkhatshwa will continue with his testimony on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, he was cross-examined by the legal counsel of the Gauteng province, Advocate Tebogo Hutama in the exchange below:

Mkhatshwa: “There were no reports of any users who left without the necessary documentation and medication and their personal belongings. Nor did I get a report from the department of health that they received any user under such conditions”.

Hutama: “So is your evidence that these managers can confirm there were no users who left without medical records?”

Mkhathshwa: Definitely.

Video: Unpacking the Life Esidimeni Inquest