The first day of former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu’s testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings has left families disgruntled, angry and with more questions than answers.
Here, Health-e has only profiled 10 former Life Esidimeni (LE) patients, and the circumstances around their deaths, but it provides a glimpse into the dignity denied to both mental health care users and their families before, during and after the fatal move.
No action has been taken against 11 health officials implicated in Esidimeni crisis, former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu who made the decision that led to 141 deaths remains illusive and the “bankrupt” Gauteng Health Department is currently unable to fund a compensation ruling.
A family member of a patient who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy has suggested amnesty be given to implicated non-governmental organisation (NGO) officials in the interests of “getting answers”.
Day three of the Life Esidimeni alternative dispute resolution was fraught with frustrations and characterised by dodging, vague answers and unsatisfactory witness testimony.
Establishing the infrastructure needed to take proper full-time care of mentally ill patients is an expensive exercise, and should never have been regarded as an area where costs could be cut.