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Moseneke: Moving of Esidimeni patients a murderous project

Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke was speaking during the cross-examination of suspended director of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela in Parktown on Friday afternoon.

Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is in charge of the Esidimeni dispute resolution process. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke has for the first time called the movement of psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni facilities a murderous project.

One hundred and forty-three mentally ill people lost their lives after the department terminated its contract with the group, allegedly to save costs.

Moseneke was speaking during the cross-examination of suspended director of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela in Parktown on Friday afternoon.

Moseneke has spent the past few days grilling Manamela about her failure to execute her legal duty to protect the rights of mentally ill people by allowing them to be taken to ill-equipped NGOs where they ultimately died.

Moseneke says he still can't understand why Manamela, as head of mental health services in Gauteng, succumbed to political pressure and allowed the project to continue.

“You know I sat here for weeks and I still deeply worry and wonder what was this marathon project about. What were you trying to do? Why did you go along with that plan that was bound to prove murderous?”

Manamela is expected back in the witness stand on Monday.