Esidimeni families say hearings don’t mark end to quest for justice

Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke ordered government to pay each family regardless of whether a patient died or survived R1.2 million by 19 June.

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

JOHANNESBURG – The families of psychiatric patients who died and those who survived the Life Esidimeni tragedy say the end of the arbitration hearings do not mark an end to their quest for justice.

Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke on Monday ordered government to pay each family regardless of whether a patient died or survived R1.2 million by 19 June.

He ordered that government pay the money in a lump sum.

At least 144 patients died after being moved to ill-equipped NGOs by the Gauteng Health department.

The families say no amount of money or number of apologies can bring their loved ones back or heal them from the pain they still feel.

However, they say they accept and welcome Moseneke’s decision.

Lucas Mogoerane’s brother Christopher is one of those who lost their lives. Mogoerane says he wants to see more done.

“Today we’re justified, we’re delighted and we’re not going to leave any stone unturned.”

Section 27’s Mark Heywood, whose organisation saw the families through the ordeal, says the Esidimeni tragedy is a lesson for the entire universe.

“This judgment is of global and universal importance and significance. It has lifted again the dignity of people with mental illnesses.”

Families also want criminal charges to be instituted against former Gauteng Health officials including Qedani Mahlangu but Moseneke says this is up to the police and the National Prosecuting Authority.

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