South Africa: Life Esidimeni Case Goes Back to Court

Top: North Gauteng High Court. Bottom-left: Hospital ward. Bottom-right: National Prosecuting Authority logo.

SECTION27 and the Life Esidimeni Family Committee have welcomed the announcement that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will institute a formal and joint inquest into the deaths of 144 mental healthcare users who were transferred from the Life Esidimeni facility to unlicensed non-governmental organisations.

The acting director of public prosecutions Pretoria, advocate George Baloyi, announced that "after careful consideration of all the facts, reports and available information" he has decided that a formal and joint inquest into all deaths related to the Life Esidimeni tragedy be held in the High Court of Pretoria before a judge.

SECTION27 pointed out on Tuesday 17 September that the families they represented had asked as early as August 2016 for inquests into the deaths of the mental healthcare users. SECTION27 represented the families in an arbitration hearing which was chaired by retired Constitutional Court Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

"We are disappointed that the NPA has found that, at this stage, the evidence on hand is not sufficient to sustain criminal charges, but we have been encouraged by the dedication of prosecutors seeking justice in this case," said SECTION27 spokesperson Ntsiki Mpulo.

"We expect that the inquest will provide enough evidence to allow the...

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