Section 27 lauds Judge Teffo’s Life Esidimeni judgment

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Non-profit organisation Section 27 says the judgment in the Life Esidimeni Inquest by Judge Mmonoa Teffo is a vital step on the path towards accountability.

This comes after Judge Teffo handed down judgment in the Inquiry into the deaths of over 100 mental health patients in 2016.

The inquest was established in 2021 to investigate who should be held responsible.

Judge Teffo found that former Gauteng Health MEC Qedhani Mahlangu and former Gauteng Mental Health Head Dr Makgabo Manamela were negligent in the deaths of the patients.

Section 27 CEO Sasha Stevenson says they welcome this judgment.

“Judge Teffo noted that Ms. Mahlangu negligently terminated the Life Esidimeni contract despite expert advice and warnings, resulting in mental healthcare users being moved to NGOs that were ill-equipped and insufficiently experienced to care for them. This conduct, Judge Teffo stated, led to deaths that could have been avoided. Judge Teffo further stated that Dr Manamela hastily facilitated the implementation of the project plan despite expert advice and that the community-based NGOs were neither adequately qualified nor properly licensed.”

Life Esidimeni Inquest | Family members of victims seek justice: Sasha Stevenson weighs in

‘Judgment a lesson’

Gauteng Provincial Government spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga says they accept the judgment. Mhaga says although they have not read the judgment on the Esidimeni inquest, the Premier of Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi has also accepted it.

He notes that the judgment is a lesson to those who hold positions of power to abide by the law.

“I think what we have not favoured with is a full judgment. But I think we’ll just have all of us as South Africans in particular Gauteng residents to follow suit with what the judgment has actually said that’s why the Premier is accepting the judgment in its full complexity even if it basically comes. And I think really for us what comes out of this is to make sure that we continue to do our level best but also to deal with the evidence-based type of decision making because there are experts that are there that must obviously come and advice and I think that must actually be adhered to and I think that’s really for me the biggest message from here.”

 

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