Esidimeni project head says he's learnt from tragedy

There were emotional scenes when Levy Mosenogi asked for forgiveness from the families of Esidimeni patients who lost their lives.

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 – The Gauteng Health Department official who headed the Esidimeni project says he’s learnt from the tragedy.

Levy Mosenogi’s testimony wrapped up on Wednesday in the arbitration hearing between the State and families of the victims of the Esidimeni tragedy.

One hundred and eighteen psychiatric patients died after being moved from the group’s facilities last year.

There were emotional scenes when Mosenogi asked for forgiveness from the families of Esidimeni patients who lost their lives.

Mosenogi admitted during his evidence that he was pressurised by former MEC Qedani Mahlangu and her HOD.

He promised the families that he will never again succumb to this type of pressure.

“I apologise on behalf of myself, on behalf of my colleagues who were in the project and on behalf of the Department of Health. A lesson is that, as public servants, we know this speaks truth to power.”

Today, the testimony of the National Health Department's Director-General Precious Matsoso continues.


Mosenogi says that the provincial Health Department is important for the country and has urged leaders to be more careful when choosing the MEC that will lead it.

He says Mahlangu did not fully understand the Esidimeni situation and was simply unreachable and emotionally unavailable.

Mosenogi has repeatedly said that he raised concerns over the Esidimeni moves and asked for an extension but was never listened to.

He was then asked whether he was afraid of his superiors, to which he said Mahlangu was just not sensitive enough.

He urged the African National Congress (ANC) to be more careful when selecting an MEC for the Gauteng Health Department and to make sure it’s someone trained as a health professional.

“I’d like to appeal to the government, especially to my organisation the ANC, health in Gauteng is complex organisation. So any person who needs to be deployed to run that department must be suitable, experienced and a good person.”

Mahlangu was a qualified teacher during her tenure as provincial Health MEC.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)