The Life Esidimeni Inquest heard by the Pretoria High Court. Screengrab: Judiciary RSA/YouTube
The Life Esidimeni Inquest heard by the Pretoria High Court. Screengrab: Judiciary RSA/YouTube

LIVE FEED: Life Esidimeni Inquest - September 13, 2021

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Sep 13, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Life Esidimeni inquest is due to hear evidence from the former Gauteng director of clinical services on Monday morning.

Dr Richard Lebethe is scheduled to be questioned further on his knowledge and involvement in the Life Esidimeni project.

A total of 144 psychiatric patients died when they were removed from Life Esidimeni's group of facilities and into NGOs.

The inquest, which is being heard virtually by the High Court in Pretoria, aims to find out who should be held criminally liable for the deaths of the patients.

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Last week, Lebethe said he first heard about the health department’s project, to centralise mental health, in 2014.

He said he hardly attended meetings linked to the project as he had other duties to attend to.

He did, however, explain his visit to an NGO, Precious Angels, which had housed psychiatric patients.

The facility had been badly run and patients were found to be too frail and not taken care of.

Lebethe visited the facility with former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

A decision was taken to quickly move patients from Precious Angels to state-run hospitals.

Lebethe had also been questioned on whether he knew of concerns raised by department of health officials.

The concerns included that some psychiatric patients were not ready to be transferred to hospitals and that some NGOs were unprepared to accommodate patients.

Family members of the patients were also unhappy about the move.

Lebethe conceded that the concerns were ignored by health department officials.

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