GRIEVING: A family member wipes away her tears during the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown, Johannesburg.Picture: Itumeleng English/ANA

Johannesburg - A man who was employed as a facility manager at Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre (CCRC) had his credibility questioned at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings on Wednesday, after being inconsistent during his testimony.

CCRC is one of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which admitted patients from Gauteng's Life Esidimeni during the marathon project of moving patients.

In his testimony, Nwagu Rasidzoge dismissed claims that the CCRC morgue was crowded and some corpses were handed to families in a bad state.

Despite having documents which were signed by him, Rasidzoge denied that at one point the mortuary was not working and had asked for help because they had leaking gas.

"The leaking gas was attended [to] immediately, the next day, and it didn't break down again."

In his report he said at one stage the mortuary went through a service and repair, during that time eight bodies were transferred to another morgue.

When asked to clarify this statement, Rasidzoge said it was actually one body and struggled to explain why he wrote eight on his initial report.

"The morgue had three cabinets, we only kept three bodies," he said.

Previously at the hearings, Ntombifuthi Dhladhla gave a heart wrenching account of how she had to identify his brother's badly decomposed body, after the family was only notified by the State six months after he had died.

Dhladhla said her brother Joseph Gumede died at Anchor House in Cullinan, Pretoria. He was kept at CCRC mortuary before being transferred to the Mamelodi government mortuary.

She said her brother's body was badly decomposed and smelling, by the time he was buried, maggots were coming out his body.

Rasidzoge denied that Gumede's body was decomposed, instead he dismissed reports from Mamelodi mortuary that the body was already decomposed when it was handed in.

Rasidzoge continued to deny almost everything that was on the report even though it was compiled by him, when faced with an incriminating question he resorted to, "I don't know" or "I can't answer that one".

Families attending the hearings were in disbelief when Rasidzoge said he was not sure if CCRC mortuary had a licence or not.

"So as we are sitting here, there's no certificate for the mortuary, according to your knowledge," advocate Adila Hasim for Section 27 inquired from Rasidzoge.

He responded: "It's a matter of checking the whereabouts of the certificate".

Hasim asked why he has not checked in the five years that he has been employed by CCRC.

Rasidzoge said he was still in the process of checking the certificate.

The hearing is probing the deaths of more than 140 psychiatric patients following their chaotic move from Esidimeni to numerous  unlicensed NGOs. 

The hearing continues on Thursday.