UCT flag to fly at half-mast to honour Esidimeni victims

The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)
The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

Cape Town – The University of Cape Town's (UCT) flag will fly at half-mast from Friday to commemorate the lives of 94 patients who died after the Gauteng government ended its contract with Life Esidimeni. 

Qedani Mahlangu resigned as Gauteng health MEC on Wednesday after the Health Ombudsman found that the deaths were a consequence of the transfer of the mentally ill patients from the Life Esidimeni facility to unregistered non-profit organisations as a cost cutting measure.  

UCT communication executive director Gerda Kruger said in a statement on Thursday that the flag will fly at half-mast on top of Jameson Hall.

"[This is] an indication of our resistance to the negligence, the alleged corruption and the blatant indifference that seem to pervade the many parties that have the responsibility to ensure that this kind of tragedy never occurs," Kruger said. 

Kruger said students point to tragedies such as Esidimeni when raising awareness about mental health issues. 

"Some see this happening at home to uncles and aunts, parents, brothers and sisters," she said. 

This tragedy is a shameful occurrence that will haunt our history as a country, Kruger said.

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