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Jacobus: I abused rights of Life Esidimeni patients

Hannah Jacobus has admitted, more than once, to bypassing legal processes of issuing licenses earmarked to take care of mentally ill people from Life Esidimeni facilities.

Hanna Jacobus is comforted during a break of her testimony at the Esidimeni arbitration hearing on 19 December 2018. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The woman in charge of NGOs for mental health services in Gauteng has admitted during her testimony at the Esidimeni arbitration hearings to abusing the rights of over 1,700 psychiatric patients by going against her fiduciary duties.

Friday is day two of Hannah Jacobus’ testimony at the hearings in Parktown.

She has admitted, more than once, to bypassing legal processes of issuing licenses earmarked to take care of mentally ill people from Life Esidimeni facilities.

One hundred and forty-three of these patients died.

Jacobus is the Gauteng Health Department’s deputy director of mental health services, the second in command of the well-being of mentally ill people living in the province.

Jacobus is trusted with managing, protecting and acting in a way that will benefit the lives of psychiatric patients.

During cross-examination by Legal Aid South Africa’s Lilla Crouse, she admitted she didn’t execute her duties.

“I should have advocated more for them because I didn’t do that and allowed the transfers to happen. Yes, I take responsibility because I was part of the process.”

Jacobus says she raised concern before the project began but continued to do what she was told although she foresaw the possibility of death of patients.

WATCH: Esidimeni: Hanna Jacobus continues testimony