Esidimeni arbitration: Masondo defends Mental Health Review Board

The former chairperson of the Gauteng Mental Health Review Board has told the Esidimeni hearings that the Health Department infringed on its independence.

The former chairperson of the Gauteng Mental Health Review Board Dumazile Masondo. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The former chairperson of the Gauteng Mental Health Review Board has told the Esidimeni hearings that the Health Department infringed on its independence.

However, retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke has reminded Dumazile Masondo that she and the rest of the board were the ones who failed in their statutory duty to protect the rights of mentally ill people.

Masondo is being questioned on her role in the tragedy in which 141 psychiatric patients died when they were moved to illegal NGOs.

Masondo has told Moseneke that the Mental Health Review Board was not given a chance to exercise its duties.

“Our independence, Mr Moseneke, was very much infringed. We didn’t have our own human resources, we didn’t have staff, so we were using Dr Makgabo Manamela’s staff. We didn’t have a budget, so everything had to go past him.”

However, Moseneke did not buy this, reminding her of the importance of her duties.

“Your roles were reversed, were they not? You were supposed to monitor them, and they monitor you.”

Masondo is being cross-examined by the lawyers representing patients who died - and those who survived.

WATCH: Esidimeni arbitration: Mental health consultant gives evidence

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)