We have no reason to doubt Gauteng government - Section 27 on Life Esidimeni payments

The healing session for the families of the Life Esidimeni patients who died. (Mpho Raborife, News24)
The healing session for the families of the Life Esidimeni patients who died. (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Section 27 says not all the claimants of the Life Esidimeni arbitration have received their money, but it has no reason to be apprehensive that the Gauteng government has not made the payments. 

"I believe that the Gauteng [health] department has made payments and I have no reason to doubt that," Section 27's Mark Heywood told News24 on Thursday. 

The Gauteng government said on Wednesday that it has paid out R159 460 000 to the claimants of the Life Esidimeni arbitration. 

All financial claims have been settled in compliance with the award given by retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke following the alternative dispute resolution process entered into with the families affected by the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

At least 144 psychiatric patients died after the Gauteng department of health moved 1 700 psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni homes into ill-equipped NGOs and state facilities in 2016.

"Government will, under the leadership of the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng Premier David Makhura continue to implement measures in compliance with the Health Ombud's recommendations and [retired deputy chief justice] Moseneke's award," provincial government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said.

Moseneke ruled on March 19 that R1m be paid to each claimant for constitutional damages, R180 000 for emotional trauma and R20 000 for funeral expenses for those who died by June 19.

In the release of his arbitration report, he slammed government, particularly former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, former Gauteng health department head Barney Selebano and former Gauteng director of mental health Makgabo Manamela, for the manner in which they handled the project.

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DA member of the provincial legislature Jack Bloom said that the party welcomed the government's payout to the claimants.

"I am pleased that the provincial government has met this commitment which provides financial redress to the relatives of those who suffered and died in the Esidimeni tragedy," Bloom said.

Money was sourced from the budgets of all the provincial government departments, he added.

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