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Moseneke hoping for just, equitable outcome to Esidimeni hearings

Dikgang Moseneke now has a month to make his findings and decide on whether the families of those who died should be awarded constitutional damages.

Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – On the last day of the Life Esidimeni arbitration proceedings, retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke says he hopes to produce a just and equitable outcome.

Moseneke now has a month to make his findings and decide on whether the families of those who died should be awarded constitutional damages.

One-thousand-seven-hundred patients were moved from Esidimeni facilities in 2016; 144 of them died and 55 are still unaccounted for.

On the final day of what has been an emotional and draining process at hearings, Moseneke says a tough task now lies ahead of him.

“It is always amazingly challenging to those who think it is glamourous and fun and we’ve come to that point where I have to do what judges routinely do... to go back and agonise.”

He has thanked the families of those affected by the tragedy for their perseverance and fight for justice in the midst of heart ache and pain.

“But for their pressing, and pressing and probing, we wouldn’t have been here. So, thank you.”

The retired deputy chief justice has also thanked government for setting up the arbitration process, saying the proceedings are good example of how to remedy deep atrocities.

'REMEMBER THE APOLOGIES'

Earlier, the state asked Moseneke to consider the apologies of health officials implicated in the life Esidimeni tragedy when determining how much should be awarded to the families.

The state has asked the retired chief justice to also consider the efforts government has put in in order to account for the tragedy.

State Advocate Tebogo Hutamo said: “In making that consideration, the justice should not equate the apologies given in these proceedings.”

Moseneke cautioned Hutamo against using apologies as an integral part of the relief for the families.

“[It’s like saying] ‘Look what I’ve done for you after beating you up, I’ve said sorry, so shut up’. Let’s just be careful; we’re here because there was this egregious, horrendous devastation of human life.”

Some of the family members of those who died broke down once again as Section 27's Adila Hassim reminded the arbitration process of how their loved ones died.

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