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 15, 2021

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Sep 15, 2021

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The Life Esidimeni inquest resumes this morning and will hear evidence from Levy Mosenogi - a former Gauteng department of health official.

Mosenogi was employed at the department while it oversaw the moving of psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni's facilities to various NGOs.

A total of 144 patients died following this move.

The inquest aims to investigate who should be held criminally liable. It is being heard virtually by the High Court in Pretoria.

WATCH FEED HERE:

On Tuesday, former director-general for clinical services at the department of health in Gauteng, Dr Richard Lebethe, faced cross-examination.

He has yet to conclude his testimony and will return at an undecided date.

Lebethe had spent much of his testimony distancing himself from decision-making processes for the project to move over a thousand patients from Life Esidimeni.

He said he was often busy when meetings took place to discuss the patient removal project.

However, statements presented by witnesses have shown he may have played an active role.

Levy Mosenogi, a former department of health official, provided an affidavit that places Lebethe in charge of the project.

Mosenogi's lawyer, advocate Benedict Maphahle, read a letter written by former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in which she urged officials to implement the project.

Lebethe was also shown a statement in which Mosenogi stated that Lebethe was present when the decision to terminate the Life Esidimeni contract was decided.

Lebethe conceded that he was part of that decision making meeting.

On Mahlangu's letter, written in November 2015, Lebethe also conceded that he was "in charge" of the project because he was the head of clinical services.

However, he repeated earlier statements that he was busy and that mental health officials were in charge while he was busy.

"That may have been the mandate, but people who had specific responsibilities in the project were others who did not have broad responsibilities in the department. It would have been hard for me to run the project and run other aspects of the department," Lebethe told the court.

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