‘MEC Mahlangu said she was getting orders from above on Esidimeni project’

Dumazile Masondo has admitted that there was gross negligence on her part and everyone else involved in the Life Esidimeni project.

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 revealed that former MEC Qedani Mahlangu told her she was “getting orders from above” on the Esidimeni project.

Dumazile Masondo was appointed the chair of the board in January 2016, just two months before the Health Department moved hundreds of psychiatric patients to illegal NGOs, allegedly to save money.

One-hundred-and-forty-one mentally ill people died as a result.

While being cross-examined by Section 27 lawyer Nicky Stein on Friday, Masondo has admitted that there was gross negligence on her part and everyone else involved in the Life Esidimeni project.

Stein asked: “It appears the mental health care users are the ones doing the cooking, cleaning and washing for the house, do you agree?”

“It’s unfair for the users, they were abused,” Masondo responded.

Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke then asked Masondo whether she tried to stop the moves.

“Why do you think the MEC did it, what did she say?”

And Masondo replied, saying: “She was saying she got orders from above.”

The hearing has adjourned for this week and continues next Monday.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)