The obligation to ensure that dignity was maintained in the transfer of mental patients from Life Esidimeni to Non-Governmental Organisation facilities was with both Gauteng health officials and the management team at Esidimeni. This is according to former Operations Director at Life Esidimeni, Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa.
Mkhatshwa, who described the transfer of patients as haphazard, has been testifying at an inquest into the deaths of 144 patients who died after being transferred from the facility.
Most patients died of hunger and neglect between March and December 2016 after the Health Department cancelled its contract with the Life Group due to financial constraints.
“It was a joint effort between the officials that were on-site at the facility. If there was any mishap, that should’ve been picked up by that team and addressed by that team at that time. No one should have left the Esidimeni facility without identification, without records, without medication. That is totally unacceptable. I’m referring to the joint team. The Department of Health officials and our managers on-site.”
Life Esidimeni Inquest proceedings: