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Jacobus foresaw possibility of death, Esidimeni arbitration hears

Hannah Jacobus is testifying for a second day in Parktown this afternoon. She is responsible for the NGOs in Gauteng where 143 Esidimeni patients died.

A screengrab of a witness giving testimony at the Esidimeni arbitration hearing on 18 January 2018.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng's deputy director for mental health services has told the Esidimeni hearings that she did foresee the possibility of death before the project started and has admitted she didn’t do enough to protect the psychiatric patients.

Hannah Jacobus is testifying for a second day in Parktown this afternoon. She is responsible for the NGOs in Gauteng where 143 Esidimeni patients died.

Jacobus has been questioned about her role as director of mental health in Gauteng and whether she knew and understood how much responsibility she had in looking after the well-being of psychiatric patients.

On Thursday, Jacobus told the hearings that she flouted legal processes when licensing NGOs for the Esidimeni project.

She said she was forced to do this by her former boss, Dr Makgabo Manamela, who resigned this week.

As she was being cross-examined by legal aid South Africa’s Lilla Crouse, Jacobus said she knew that people would die.

Her testimony has once again cast a spotlight over how the project was rushed and how the department disregarded the law from the get-go.