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‘I warned Health Dept against hasty transfer of Esidimeni patients’

Life Esidimeni’s former GM became emotional while explaining how he tried his best to convince the Health Department not to hastily move patients.

FILE: A Life Esidimeni care centre in Boksburg. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Life Esidimeni’s former general manager Doctor Morgan Mkhatshwa has told the arbitration hearings that he objected to psychiatric patients being moved in a rush and warned of the damage it would have.

Some 141 mentally ill people died after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Esidimeni group last year and moved patients to unlawful NGOs.

Mkhwatshwa became emotional while explaining how he tried his best to convince the Health Department not to hastily move patients.

He says he warned officials but was not listened to.

“I consulted with my team after realising that we couldn’t do it within six months. I wrote a letter to the department asking for an extension to September 2016 so that we could have 12 months to manage the process appropriately. That was declined.”

He says he begged the department for an extension - but this was declined.

The Gauteng Health Department said it was terminating its contract with Esidimeni because it wanted to save costs.

However, officials who have testified all confirmed that more money was actually spent on the unlawful NGOs.

WATCH: Esidimeni arbitration hearings resume

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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