Moseneke gives government 3 months to pay more than R1m each to Life Esidimeni families

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Dikgang Moseneke. (Trevor Kunene)
Dikgang Moseneke. (Trevor Kunene)

Johannesburg - Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke has given the South African government three months to compensate the families of those who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

"It cannot be later than the 19th of June 2018," said Moseneke.

The compensation is in excess of R1m for each claimant.

Reading his order on the last day of the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing at the Emoyeni Conference Centre in Parktown on Monday, Moseneke ruled in favour of the families.

"The government of the Republic of South Africa - as represented by the national minister of health, the premier of Gauteng and members of the executive government - are ordered to pay an agreed amount of R20 000 to each of the claimants listed in annexure A and B in respect of funeral expenses.

"The government is ordered to pay R180 000 to each of the claimants listed in annexure A, B and C in respect of the shock and psychological trauma.

READ: I dip my head in shame – Makhura on Life Esidimeni tragedy

"The government is ordered to pay R1m to each of the claimants listed in annexure A, B and C as appropriate relief or compensation for the government's breach of Constitution."

He slammed the government - particularly former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, former Gauteng health department head Dr Barney Selebano and former Gauteng health department of health director Dr Makgabo Manamela - for the manner in which they handled the Marathon Project.

He found that their decision to move the mental health care patients was "irrational and unconstitutional".

A total of 144 psychiatric patients died after being moved from Life Esidimeni to various unlicensed NGOs. Many of the families had not been informed about the intention to move their loved ones.

Some family members found their loved ones in mortuaries and, in some cases, after post-mortems had been conducted, plastic and paper had been found in their stomachs.  

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