Life Esidimeni families welcome Moseneke ruling

Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke announced on Monday that he would award families of victims, dead or alive R1.2 million each.

Family members of the Life Esidimeni tragedy victims testify during arbitration hearings on 16 November 2017. Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The families of the Esidimeni victims have welcomed the decision by retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke to award them R1.2 million each.

Moseneke announced his decision in Parktown on Monday where dozens of family members gathered for more than 40 days to relive the horrific details of how their loved ones were treated.

LISTEN: Life Esidimeni judgment is groundbreaking - Health Ombud

The retired deputy chief justice says the compensation to be paid by government is for both common law and constitutional damages, regardless of whether the patient died or survived.

At least 144 mentally ill people died after the Gauteng Health Department moved them to ill-equipped NGOs in 2016.

Family members hugged each other and even thanked Moseneke for his decision.

An emotional Christine Nxumalo says for the first time since her sister’s death in 2016, she can breathe a small sigh of relief.

“We are very happy and the way he did it in such detail for us really just says to us for the first time we actually had somebody listening literally from the beginning, right to the end.”

Andrew Peterson’s uncle survived the tragedy.

“Arbitration has worked for us the process, the confessions we made and now this award is just the cherry on top so we are very happy about that.”

The families of those who died initially wanted to be compensated at least R1.7 million each but say they trust Moseneke’s judgement and accept his decision.

WATCH: Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke orders government to pay for Life Esidimeni tragedy.