Section 27 welcomes Esidimeni ruling

Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke has described the decision to move hundreds of psychiatric patients to illegal NGOs in 2016 as unconstitutional and irrational.

FILE: Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke delivers the Life Esidimeni report on 18 March 2018. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Rights group Section 27 has welcomed Monday's ruling on the Esidimeni tragedy, handed down by retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.

Moseneke's ordered the Gauteng government to pay R20,000 for funeral expenses, R180,000 for general damages for shock and psychological trauma and R1 million to families of patients, irrespective of whether their loved ones died.

LISTEN: Life Esidimeni judgment is groundbreaking - Health Ombud

He's described the decision to move hundreds of psychiatric patients to illegal NGOs in 2016 as "irrational and unconstitutional".

Moseneke said the reasons given by former Gauteng Health Department senior officials - Qedani Mahlangu, Doctor Barney Selebano and Doctor Makgabo Manamela - were a fabrication of the facts behind the decision to terminate the contract with Life Esidimeni.

Mahlangu resigned as Gauteng Health MEC last year, while Selebano and Manamela left their senior posts in the Health Department in January.

Moseneke agreed with the health ombudsman’s finding that the move was irrational and negligent.
At least 144 mentally ill people died as a result of the move.

Section 27's Mark Heywood says: “I can only welcome it. It’s very, very emotional. Its emotional for the families, its emotional for us but the job is not over because we have to repair the system that allows this to happen in the first place.”

Section 27 says the conclusion of the Esidimeni hearings should signal the start of government efforts to restore the health care system in this country.

Heywood says President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to get involved.

“Now there’s going to be a discussion at the very, very highest level of government, I mean the level of the president who needs to intervene and say what is the plan to fix this? Not just to fix the service, but also to fix these issues of accountability.”

[WATCH] Judge Moseneke orders Gauteng government to pay for Life Esidimeni tragedy: