Mahlangu at Life Esidimeni hearing: I do understand the pain of losing a love one - AS IT HAPPENED

2018-01-25 15:30

Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has come to the end of her testimony on the Life Esidimeni tragedy which led to the deaths of at least 143 vulnerable patients.

 - For the latest updates follow News24 reporter Jeanette Chabalala: @J_chabalala


(Courtesy of SABC) 


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Last Updated at 12:05
25 Jan 18:01
The hearings continue on Friday at 09:30.

25 Jan 18:00
Mahlangu is done with her testimony.

25 Jan 18:00
Moseneke: We are partners with government in this arbitration and we acknowledge that this is a total post-apartheid tragedy.

25 Jan 17:59
My family has taken strain because of my role in government. I understand and accept that things have gone wrong under my rule. My family should not have to suffer because of me.  

25 Jan 17:56
I feel like we have let down the most vulnerable in society and for that I apologise.

25 Jan 17:56
I tried my utmost best to remember and access documents.

25 Jan 17:55
At no stage did I attempt to avoid coming to the hearings. I would like to assure you Justice that I remain available to the work that you are doing.

25 Jan 17:55
Being a political leader is not an easy task. It has not been easy. It has been exceptionally difficult.

25 Jan 17:55
As government we will try to help the families to get closure.

25 Jan 17:55
I'd like to say to the families that what happened is regrettable. My sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones. I may not understand what you went though but I do understand the pain of losing a love one.

25 Jan 17:51
Mahlangu now has an opportunity to address the hearings.

25 Jan 17:51
Moseneke thanks Mahlangu for appearing voluntarily at the hearings. He explains why the Life Esidimeni tragedy has captured the interest of the nation saying that it is bigger than the Sharpeville massacre and Marikana. 

25 Jan 17:49
Advocate Tebogo Hutamo for the State says he has no questions for the witness.

25 Jan 17:48
Groenewald is done with his cross-examination.

25 Jan 17:48

Groenewald: Do you seek forgiveness from these families?

Mahlangu: Yes I do.

25 Jan 17:46

Groenewald: I will argue at the end of the day that you were evasive and ... that you were not truthful in your testimony.

Mahlangu: That is inaccurate. I will not accept that.

25 Jan 17:44

25 Jan 17:43

Mahlangu: Had I known what I know now, and had better foresight, maybe we would not be sitting her.  

Groenewald: Mam, I put it to you that you didn't need foresight, all you needed was to pay attention.

25 Jan 17:41

Groenewald: You should have known that you are placing mental healthcare users' lives at risk.

Mahlangu: I would not have known that the decision that the department had taken would place the lives of some of the most vulnerable at risk.

25 Jan 17:37
From our reporter Jeanette Chabalala: "Moseneke just gave Mahlangu food for thought. He asked what is it that was so pressing that the patients had to be moved."

25 Jan 17:35
Groenewald says Mahlangu has testified for three days and she has been saying she doesn't know things. "And then the witness said she is not a prophet."

25 Jan 17:26

25 Jan 17:25

Moseneke: Why didn't you as political principle ask your team questions about the transfer?

Mahlangu says that all aspects of the transfer were handled by officials and it is impossible for her to get involved in the details of it all.

25 Jan 17:21
Moseneke: Your colleagues don't accept that you knew nothing.

25 Jan 17:19
Mahlangu denies that she nominated Levy Mosenogi as the project leader. She says the HOD Dr Selebano hired him.

25 Jan 17:17

25 Jan 17:16

25 Jan 17:14

25 Jan 17:13
Mahlangu remembers the meeting but she doesn't recall the accuracy of the minutes.

25 Jan 17:09
Groenewald says on 26 January 2016 Mahlangu has already indicated that she wanted to push through with the Life Esidimeni transfers. But by this time Sadag and Section27 had already identified risks of going ahead with the plan.

25 Jan 17:03
Groenewald is now dealing with minutes of a meeting, which Mahlangu doesn't seem to remember the contents of. During this meeting in January 2016 Mahlangu resolved that licencing of NGOs should be resolved by 5 February 2016, despite that NGOs where not identified.

25 Jan 16:49

25 Jan 16:48
Groenewald says Mahlangu's evidence at the hearing is important because it can bring closure to the families of those who died. He adds that her testimony has not brought any closure to those affected. He argues that she lives in total denial.

25 Jan 16:47

Groenewald asks if Mahlangu understands the importance of her evidence at the hearings.

Mahlangu says as the former political head she understands that she needs to be there.

25 Jan 16:43
Adv Dirk Groenewald for Solidarity is next up to question Mahlangu.

25 Jan 16:29

Mahlangu asks for comfort break.

Moseneke agrees to a 10-minute interval. He says it will do everyone well.

25 Jan 16:28

25 Jan 16:27

Crouse: I put it to you that you are directly to blame for all the deaths and sufferings.

Mahlangu: I am not directly to blame.

Cross-examination by Crouse now ends.

25 Jan 16:26

Mahlangu says she was not uncooperative or disrespectful in not appearing at the hearing earlier. It was due to her academic commitments. 

She adds that this matter was clarified and she doesn't see why she is being questioned about this again. However, Moseneke points out that this is what cross-examination is all about.

25 Jan 16:22

25 Jan 16:15
A couple of minutes ago Mahlangu took issue about her impression that the arbitration is focusing on her character. Watch.

25 Jan 16:08

Crouse reads a transcript from a public meeting in which Mahlangu is quoted as saying that mental health challenges doesn't run in her bloodline and that families must take responsibility for their relatives.

Mahlangu clarifies that she meant that families must still visit their relatives despite the government caring for them.

25 Jan 16:04
Crouse says it appears that Mahlangu was more concerned about her political agree than the Life Esidimeni patients.

25 Jan 16:03
Mahlangu says she knew that she was not going to stay the course in anticipation about the ombudsman report and therefore didn't see why she should take action against any of those people who allegedly lied to her.

25 Jan 16:00
Crouse asks Mahlangu why she didn't have any disciplinary hearings with the many people who she claims lied to her.

25 Jan 15:59

25 Jan 15:58
Mahlangu says in her view the health ombudsman did not find her culpable of anything. She says that she would need a lawyer to explain to her what the word culpability means.

25 Jan 15:54

25 Jan 15:53
Moseneke says he is there to protect Mahlangu if she thinks that her character is being impugned but adds that she must answer questions put to her.

25 Jan 15:52
Mahlangu: If this is about my character then I would like to be allowed to have a lawyer present.

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