Life Esidimeni hearings arbitrator Justice Dikgang Moseneke says former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu should have at least listened to family members of the victims of the Esidimeni tragedy when they protested against the transfer of their relatives to NGOs.

He says even though Mahlangu had doubts about the motives of civil society organisations, who also raised red flags about the move, she should have taken heed when families marched to her offices in Johannesburg to register their concerns.

During her testimony last week, Mental Health Deputy Director Hannah Jacobs also alluded to the fact that concerns of families were completely disregarded.

Mahlangu is being was cross-examined at the Life Esidimeni hearings in Johannesburg over the deaths of 143 mentally-ill patients.

“Why did not you listen to people on the ground? Not SADAG, not all the people you thought might have an agenda. But ordinary, vulnerable South Africans who said this is dangerous?” ask Moseneke.

In her response, Mahlangu said, “If I had the benefit of hindsight that I have, I would have done things differently. But I trusted people. I should have behaved differently?”

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