Mental health care expert, Professor Abel Pienaar, will on Tuesday morning return to the witness stand at the Pretoria High Court to continue testifying in the Life Esidimeni probe.
The hearing is considering whether anyone can be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 mental patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni to unregistered non-governmental organisations in an apparent attempt to save money.
Two weeks ago, Pienaar testified about what he argued was the violation of the Nursing Act by NGOs that accommodated mental health patients.
In the video below, nursing expert says facilities used to accommodate mentally ill patients lacked resources:
On Friday last week, the cross-examination of expert witness Dr Mvuyiso Talatala was concluded.
Talatala told the court that the NGOs did not record the identities of some patients after they were moved from the Life Esidimeni facilities in June 2016.
The health ombudsman revealed that the 144 patients died of hunger, dehydration, and neglect during and after they were moved from the Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped and unregistered Non-Governmental Organisations in June 2016.
One of the patients, Charity Ratsotso, who died while in the care of an NGO was almost buried as a pauper after the NGO couldn’t trace the patient’s next-of-kin.
The legal representative of former Gauteng head of the Health Department, Advocate Russel Sibara, questioned Talatala who is a specialist psychiatrist.
Adv Sibara: “I know that there was a complaint about the late Charity Ratsotso that the family wasn’t notified about his death. The family was notified when he was placed and when he was discharged to Anchor. Do you know that doctor?
Dr Talatala: “Yes, I see counsel.”
Adv Sibara: “Now after the discharge, at first Dorothy Franks denied that they had him in their facility. But I produced proof that he was produced to them. Do you agree with me that while he was at Anchor and he was identified as Charity Ratsotso, not an unknown patient?”