19 January 2018

South Africa: Life Esidimeni - the Weight of 143 Bodies - Yet No Real Remorse From Those Responsible

analysis

The Life Esidimeni arbitration resumed on Thursday. Another government official displayed how little she cares about the loss of life under their watch when self-interest is at stake. By GREG NICOLSON.

"This was a learning curve for me," said Hannah Jacobus.

Gauteng's deputy director of mental health testified at the Life Esidimeni arbitration on Thursday. She did not design or run the Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project that saw over 1,000 chronic psychiatric patients moved out of the private facility and into NGOs. But Jacobus was a leader in the province's department of health. She prepared the documentation to licence NGOs illegally and sat in meetings before and after patients were moved.

She said the learning curve was "painful". After 143 patients died, Jacobus went through a disciplinary hearing and received a final warning. She continues to serve as the province's deputy director after she was put on probation for six months. She's served five months, with one month to go.

A "learning curve" is one way to describe the tragedy.

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