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Motsoaledi expects Esidimeni tribunal to finish work soon

The tribunal is mandated to deal with appeals relating to the Health Ombudsman’s report into the deaths of mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni facilities in Gauteng.

FILE: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says he expects an independent tribunal dealing with appeals by Gauteng health officials involved in the Life Esidimeni tragedy to finish its work in two months’ time.

Over 100 people died after being transferred from the Gauteng facility to several unlicensed NGOs.

A report into the fatalities was released in January, with Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigning a day before the report's release.

Motsoaledi says he has appointed the tribunal with immediate effect.

His spokesperson Joe Maila says the committee should be done with its work by May.

“It is our expectation that they will wrap up within two months so that we must close this case.”

Maila says UCT psychiatry professor Brian Robertson will also form part of the tribunal.

“The law says in the event that there are people who are aggrieved and want to appeal, the minister must then appoint a tribunal. In this instance, the three-person tribunal was appointed and will be headed by [retired] Judge President Bernard Ngoepe.”

The committee is mandated to deal with appeals relating to the Health Ombudsman’s report into the deaths of mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni facilities in Gauteng.

Last month, Parliament heard how Gauteng Health Head Of Department Dr Barney Selebano is challenging the findings against him and that his lawyers have written to acting chief executive of the Occupational Health and Safety Council Bafana Msibi, demanding access to all the information that led to the findings in Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s report.

Selebano is currently on suspension after he, Mahlangu and other officials were found to have acted recklessly and negligently in their decision to move the patients.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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