#EsidimeniTragedy: 'Lacking NGOs were given licenses anyway'

Levy Mosenogi says the Health Department official who signed off on the licenses for the NGOs was actually not the person authorised to do so.

State witness Levy Mosenogi, the Gauteng Health Department Chief Director of planning, policy and research, testifies during the Life Esidimeni arbitration process. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – It’s been revealed in the Life Esidimeni arbitration process that NGOs were given licenses to operate, despite not having enough beds.

The information was revealed on Wednesday afternoon by the Gauteng Health Department official who headed the Esidimeni project.

One-hundred-and-eighteen psychiatric patients died after the Health Department terminated its contract with the group last year.

Levy Mosenogi says the Health Department official who signed off on the licenses for the NGOs was actually not the person authorised to do this.

“I think the Gauteng Health Department has been very unstable in terms of management. Systematically, it causes failures because those things ended up just falling through the cracks. There was instability in terms of senior management.”

He has conceded that there were NGOs that were not adequate to house patients but were given the licenses anyway.

“I did notice that when people said there are 2,000 beds available, they are not speaking of actual beds but the beds that were envisaged.”

Mosenogi says he doesn't believe former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu fully understood the situation.