Gauteng DA Welcomes Negligence Finding Over 9 Life Esidimeni Deaths, Calls for More Serious Charges

Gauteng DA Welcomes Negligence Finding Over 9 Life Esidimeni Deaths, Calls for More Serious Charges

  • The Gauteng Democratic Alliance (DA) has lauded the outcome of the multi-year Life Esidimeni inquest on Wednesday, 10 July
  • Judge Mmonoa Teffo ruled negligence against ex-Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and mental health head Makgabo Manamela over the deaths of nine mentally ill patients
  • DA MPL and Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom told Briefly News he expected Mahlangu and Manamela to face culpable homicide charges

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Life Esidimeni tragedy ruling welcomed by Gauteng DA
DA MPL and Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom is satisfied with Wednesday's ruling into nine Life Esidimeni deaths. Image: Ihsaan Haffejee and Alet Pretorius
Source: Getty Images

JOHANNESBURG — The Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed High Court Judge Mmonoa Teffo's negligence determination against former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and mental health boss Makgabo Manamela.

Teffo delivered her ruling following an exhaustive inquest into the multiple deaths of Life Esidimeni mental health patients that began in May 2021.

DA welcomes Life Esidimeni ruling

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In the landmark ruling on Wednesday, 10 July, Teffo noted that Mahlangu's decision to terminate the Life Esidimeni contract happened despite warnings by experts, resulting in the deaths of 144 psychiatric patients.

Between October 2015 and June 2016, over 1,700 mentally ill patients were transferred from facilities operated by long-term provider Life Esidimeni to 27 under-resourced alternative psychiatric facilities managed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

Responding to the ruling, DA Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) and Gauteng Shadow Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) Jack Bloom said Mahlangu and Manamela should face criminal charges over the tragedy.

"This is a severe indictment that should lead to culpable homicide charges against [them]. It's a pity that the lack of autopsies for the other Esidimeni deaths precluded a firm negligence finding," Bloom said.

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Calls for criminal charges

He added that criminal charges should be formulated as soon as possible and a court date expedited so justice is not delayed.

In response to a Briefly News media inquiry, Bloom said:

"It has taken [three] years for this inquest to conclude, which is a distressingly long time, but it is unprecedented to have a joint inquest into so many deaths.
"It's unfortunate that there were some delaying tactics by the implicated parties. [However], we need to find a way to speed up procedures in this matter.
"I expect culpable homicide charges to be laid against Mahlangu and Manamela soon, and lesser charges against other implicated people."

Source: Briefly News

Authors:
Tshepiso Mametela avatar

Tshepiso Mametela Tshepiso Mametela is a seasoned journalist with eight years of experience writing for online and print publications. He is an evening/weekend editor at Briefly News. He was a general news reporter for The Herald, a senior sports contributor at Opera News SA, and a reporter for Caxton Local Media’s Bedfordview and Edenvale News and Joburg East Express community titles. He has attended media workshops, including the crime and court reporting one by the Wits Justice Project and Wits Centre for Journalism in 2024. He was a member of the Forum of Community Journalists (FCJ) from 2018 to 2020.