Makhura to push for conclusion of investigations into Esidimeni

Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke on Monday ordered the government to pay the families of the victims R1.2 million each, for both common and constitutional law damages.

A screengrab of Gauteng Premier David Makhura testifying at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown.

JOHANNESBURG - While retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke has rejected making recommendations for criminal proceedings against former senior Gauteng health officials involved in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, premier David Makhura says he will be pushing police to conclude investigations.

Moseneke on Monday ordered the government to pay the families of the victims R1.2 million each, for both common and constitutional law damages.

The families welcomed the decision and thanked the retired deputy chief justice.

One hundred and forty-four mentally ill people died when the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with Life Esidimeni, taking them to ill-equipped and illegal NGOs in 2016.

Retired deputy chief justice says criminal cases against Gauteng health officials are up to the police and the National Prosecuting Authority.

“I’ve declined also to order South African Police Services to investigate criminal charges that obviously arise from the facts of this arbitration. They must do their work.”

Makhura says he since got an update from police on these matters in December and will be making sure more is done in order to give the families closure.

“We will also ensure that there is a follow-up from the law enforcement agencies that are currently investigating."

Meanwhile, Gauteng African National Congress secretary general Hope Papo says the party accepts Moseneke’s decision.

“We also call on the law enforcement agencies to speed up their investigations.”

Moseneke has ordered government to pay the families by 19 June. His decision is binding.