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Tribunal to process Esidimeni report appeals

Politics
Parliament – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday announced the appointment of an ad-hoc independent tribunal which will process all appeals of the Health Ombudsman's damning report into the deaths of over 100 psychiatric patients in Gauteng.

The tribunal will be headed by retired Judge President of the high court in Pretoria, Bernard Ngoepe, and would include professor Brian Robertson, a retired professor of psychiatry from the University of Cape Town, and professor Hoosen Coovadi, a retired professor of paediatrics from the former University of Natal.

"The Independent Ad-Hoc tribunal is appointed with immediate effect and is expected to conclude the appeal process within a period of two months," a statement from the health ministry said.

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Former Judge President of the high court in Pretoria, Bernard Ngoepe, will chair the ad-hoc tribunal which will process all appeals of the Health Ombudsman's damning report on the death of over 100 Gauteng mental health patients. File picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Media

"The Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi wishes members of the tribunal well in discharging their responsibilities."

The tribunal was appointed in terms of section 88A (2) and (3) (a) of the National Health Amendment Act of 2003. On February 1, Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba, released his report into the deaths of mentally ill patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni to various non-governmental organisations in Gauteng.

He revealed that the death toll was 94 following the negligent transfer of patients from the by then Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and several of the provincial health department officials. Mahlangu resigned on the eve of the release of the report, while several officials were placed on suspension, including head of department Barney Selebano, who was named in the report.

On February 15, Makgoba told MPs in Parliament that the death toll had climbed to over 100.

Most patients died of dehydration and starvation.

During that same meeting, Motsoaledi said that the office fo health standards compliance had received a letter from a group of lawyers representing Selebano and other officials stating an intention to appeal the ombudsman's report.

African News Agency (ANA)

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