Scrolla logo

Former health MEC blamed for 141 Life Esidimeni deaths

The Life Esidimeni inquest has found that former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and former head of Gauteng mental health Makgabo Manamela were responsible for the deaths of 141 psychiatric patients in 2016.

Judge Mmonoa Teffo delivered the judgment on Wednesday.

“Ms Mahlangu proceeded to terminate the contract between Life Esidimeni Care Centre and the Gauteng Health Department, despite numerous expert advice and warnings from professionals in mental health and stakeholders,” the judge said.

The inquest looked into the criminal liability for the deaths that happened after the Gauteng Health Department ended its contract with Life Esidimeni.

Once the contract was ended, patients were moved to poorly resourced NGOs.

Between May and June 2016, 1,300 patients were loaded onto buses or bakkies and transferred, often without their belongings, shoes, or medical records.

“Dr Manamela proceeded to implement the plan against expert advice. She could have saved many lives as she visited the NGOs and could see that they were not adequately equipped, and the personnel were not qualified to care for the patients,” Judge Teffo said.

Former Gauteng premier David Makhura said that he did not know how the patients ended up in the NGOs where they died.

However, Mahlangu pointed out that the decision was made by the provincial budget committee chaired by Makhura and that he was fully aware of the situation.

Mahlangu said: “At all material times, the premier was involved when the decision about Life Esidimeni was taken. He was fully aware of what was happening in the department.”

She also admitted that there were no legal talks before ending the Life Esidimeni contract, as required by government protocol.

Pictured above: Qedani Mahlangu.

Source: X