Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing chairman retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. File picture: ANA

Johannesburg - Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke is expected to announce on Monday the amount of compensation that the Gauteng health department will have to pay families who lost members during the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Last month, Moseneke, who has been chairing the special arbitration hearing, said he needed 30 days to review the evidence before making awards to the families affected.

Two civil society groups, Solidarity and Section27, reached an agreement with the state that the families would be compensated R200 000 for common law damages, and counselling would also be made available. It was agreed that R180 000 was intended for emotional shock, psychological injury, and counselling services, whereas R20 000 would go to funeral expenses. 

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In terms of constitutional damages, both legal representatives at the hearing argued that families of the deceased should be awarded  R1.5 million as part of the redress. 

Solidarity advocate Lilla Crouse, representing families of the survivors, did not reach an agreement with the state. Instead, she made different submissions and  argued that survivors should be compensated R750 000 as part of general damages. She also argued that R300 000 would be fair compensation for family members of the survivors.  

She added that families should be further compensated R5 000 for clothing and R1 000 for transport costs, and that R1 million in constitutional damages for surviving patients would be sufficient. 

State advocate Tebogo Hutamo argued that families should not be compensated for constitutional damages but for the trauma and pain suffered. He emphasised that consideration of compensation should be give in relation to what the families went through and not what the patients went through. Only survivors were entitled to constitutional damages, he said. 

More than 140 mentally ill patients died following the bungled relocations from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGOs across the province. Most patients died of starvation and neglect. Out of 59 patients who went missing during the chaotic marathon project, only four have been located. The hearing was intended to help provide family members with closure and redress.

African News Agency/ANA