Advocate Lilla Crouse from the Civil society group Legal Aid South Africa. Picture: ANA

Johannesburg - An advocate from the civil society group Legal Aid South Africa, who represents patients who survived the transfer from Life Esidimeni to non-governmental organisations, told the arbitration hearings into the deaths of 140 mentally ill patients that survivors also need to be compensated. 

Lilla Crouse said survivors should be compensated with R750 000 as part of general damages. 

"Surviving patients also suffered a great deal and were tortured, they also deserve justice."

She said general damages were not sufficient in this matter. 

She asked retired chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, who is chairing the arbitration, to consider awarding constitutional damages.

Crouse said R1 million in constitutional damages for surviving patients would be sufficient. 

She also said it would be fair to award family members of the survivors R300 000. 

"The families were present and also suffered trauma." 

She added that families should be further compensated with R5000 for clothing and R1000 for transport costs. 

She said this request stemmed from the fact that patients were moved to facilities far from their loved ones. Crouse said family members of the victims had testified that they bought clothes for their loved ones but whenever they went to visit them, the clothes were missing.   

Lastly, Crouse requested that R20 000 should be given to families for counselling for their pain and suffering.

Legal aid SA is the only group representing families affected by the Life Esidimeni tragedy which hasn't reached an agreement with the State. 

Earlier, Section 27 and Solidarity reached an agreement with the State that the families will be compensated with R200 000 for common law damages. 

Section 27's Advocate Adila Hassim said R180 000 was for emotional shock and psychological injury, and counselling services while R20 000 was allocated for funeral expenses. 

Moseneke said the amount was subject to change as this was a proposal by the legal representatives 

The proceedings continue on Friday.

African News Agency/ANA