Picture: Khanyisile Ngcobo/IOL

Johannesburg - The Life Esidimeni Alternative Dispute Resolution on Thursday heard how the health of loved ones rapidly deteriorated during their stay at the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) they were moved to from Life Esidimeni.  

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

On Wednesday, it emerged that suspended Gauteng Department of Health head Dr Barney Selebano had filed papers in the Johannesburg High Court challenging a subpoena ordering him to appear before the hearing. 

Selebano had been ordered to appear before the hearing next month.

Selebano's application will be heard at the end of November. 

On Thursday, more family members testified before former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, tearfully revealing the harrowing conditions their loved ones were subjected following the move. 

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Among those testifying was Lorraine Khunjwa, whose sister Maureen was moved to Takalani Home from Esidimeni, where she had stayed for decades.  

Video: Khanyisile Ngcobo/IOL

Khunjwa said Maureen left Esidimeni in good health but rapidly lost weight following her move. 

"My sister went to Esidimeni when she was 20, stayed there for 41 years and was fine. She moved to Takalani, stayed there for seven months and died. All I can say is they killed her," an emotional Khunjwa said. 

Adding to this was Anna Mthembu, younger sister Busisiwe Tshabalala died a mere month after being transferred to Cullinan, who tearfully revealed the state of the Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre when she went to collect her sister's body. 

Mthembu said Daphney Ndlovu had informed the family of her sister's death, instructing them to come collect the body on the same day.

"When we arrived, I couldn't see a proper reception... as we made our way through the passage, there were coals," she said.

She then recounted being led to the "mortuary" where her sister's body had been kept, adding that the room was anything like a proper mortuary.

Upon arrival in the small room, Mthembu discovered her sister's body covered and on the floor. 

When Mthembu attempted to find out the exact details surrounding her sister's death, she was led to the ward where her sister was kept during her brief stay at Cullinan. 

"We were taken to a ward and discovered there were both males and females in the ward.

"There were around 10 females and a higher number of males... who all looked like they were not bathing," he said.

A tearful Mthembu then questioned why her sister had been kept in such conditions and was told she was asking too many questions. 

As the emotional testimony continued, one of the translators broke down and had to be assisted by a colleague. A third family member also testified

The hearing continues.