Treatment of Esidimeni patients compared to Biko’s death

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A medical law expert has drawn similarities between the treatment of Life Esidimeni patients to that of the late Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko by the Apartheid government.

Director of the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics at Wits University’s Health Science Faculty, Professor Ames Dhai was the second person to be called to testify at the Esidimeni hearings since it resumed on Thursday after a six-week long break.

The hearings are probing the deaths of 143 mentally ill patients who died after they were transfered from Life Esidimeni to unregisterd NGOs.

Dhai spoke out against the transportation of patients in open bakkies.

He says: “You look at the situation of Steve Biko in his cell, he was left lying on a mat, soaked in urine, on a cement floor. He was later transported to Pretoria at the back of a land rover, comatosed, in handcuffs. Here are our patients, look how they were transported, they were actually tied.”