Life Esidimeni Inquest -September 7, 2021
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Johannesburg - The Life Esidimeni inquest resumes on Tuesday and will continue to hear evidence from several witnesses.
The inquest, heard virtually by the High Court in Pretoria, aims to investigate whether anyone should be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 mentally ill patients who died after being moved to various Gauteng NGOs.
On Monday, the Life Esidimeni inquest heard how mentally ill patients at a Life Esidimeni Group facility had 15 nurses servicing about 600 patients.
Zanele Buthelezi, a former nurse at Waverley Care Centre, faced questions from a legal representative of the former head of mental health in Gauteng, Dr Makgabo Manamela.
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She was asked about how many mentally ill patients were housed at the facility, she confirmed that it was 580, but other records show it was 604.
Buthelezi also confirmed that 15 nurses worked at the facility. She also admitted that this staff number fell far below the required number.
The staff numbers meant each nurse would have to take care of about 46 patients. Buthelezi said this number would increase depending on how many nurses were on duty.
She said she was not in charge of staff appointments and that it was the responsibility of the head of office officials.
The inquest also heard that some of the family members of patients who had initially been housed at Waverley objected to their relatives being moved to some of the NGOs.
The families requested a meeting with former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.
The families had gone to inspect a few of the NGOs and were not pleased with the conditions.
Buthelezi told the inquest that she had witnessed Manamela accompanying NGOs to fetch patients from Waverley. Manamela has disputed this.