Former health officials could have prevented Esidimeni deaths: Judge

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Pretoria High Court judge Mmonoa Teffo has found that former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and former head of mental health services Dr Makgabo Manamela could have prevented the deaths of 144 patients who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

The patients died after being relocated from Life Esidimeni, a highly specialised, long-term psychiatric hospital to ill-equipped and unlicensed NGO facilities.

Judge Teffo handed down the judgment of the Life Esidimeni inquest virtually on Wednesday.

“Miss Mahlangu proceeded to terminate the contract between Life Esidimeni care centre and the Gauteng Department of Health despite numerous expert advice and warnings from professionals in mental health and stakeholders. Her conduct led to the regrettable and unfortunate deaths – some of which could have been avoided.”

Judge Teffo added that “Ms Qedani Mahlangu and Dr Makgabo Manamela created the circumstances in which the deaths were inevitable.”

VIDEO | Esidimeni Inquest | Judge Teffo delivers judgment in Life Esidimeni Inquest:

‘Huge embarrassment’

Reacting to the judgment of the Esidimeni inquest, the Chairperson of the SA Medical Association, Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa says the law is very lenient on politicians.

Dr Mzukwa says the judgment is a huge embarrassment for this democratic government. He says not much has changed since the Esidimeni tragedy.

 

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