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Inquest into Life Esidimeni tragedy welcomed

A commission of inquiry was held. But the National Prosecuting Authority said there was not enough evidence to haul anyone to court.

A Life Esidimeni care centre in Boksburg. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A decision to set up an inquest into the Life Esidimeni tragedy has been welcomed by various groups, as well as some of the families of those who died.

A commission of inquiry was held but the National Prosecuting Authority said there was not enough evidence to haul anyone to court.

The process will determine the circumstances of what led to the deaths of 144 psychiatric patients, with the aim of identifying those responsible for the tragedy.

Section 27, the Freedom Front Plus and the Esidimeni family committee were some of the many voices who welcomed the judicial inquiry into the circumstances of what lead to the deaths of mentally ill patients.

Section 27 said it expected the inquest to provide enough evidence to allow the NPA to prosecute those who were responsible.

The committee’s Christine Nxumalo described the inquest as a step in the right direction.

“They will need to appoint a judge and they will need to treat everybody who was a witness as a suspect.”

The Freedom Front Plus's Philip van Staden agreed with Nxumalo.

“We will never stop until justice is served in this matter.”

The NPA said it was not ready to present the matter before court due to a lack of evidence.

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