SAHRC to begin own hearings into state of mental healthcare in SA

Government departments, regulatory bodies, civil society organisations, and researchers are among those taking part in the two day hearings.

A South African Human Rights Commission panel. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Human Rights Commission will on Tuesday morning begin its national investigative hearings into the status of mental healthcare in the country.

Government departments, regulatory bodies, civil society organisations, and researchers are among those taking part in the two day hearings.

The commission's Gail Smith says that the hearing will seek to underline systemic and structural challenges to mental health care.

“That process is designed to provide information and reach some closure to those who were affected by the Esidimeni tragedy. We’re trying to find a systemic gap.”

Meanwhile, in Parktown the Esidimeni alternative dispute resolution process which is aimed at finding redress for the families who lost their loved ones continues this morning.

The hearings on Monday heard how the Gauteng Health Department lied to the courts when the South African Society of Psychiatrists (Sasop) tried to urgently interdict the transfer of mentally ill patients from Esidimeni facilities.

One hundred and forty-three of the patients died as a result of the moves.