Lamola to approach judge president to appoint Life Esidimeni inquest chair

The NPA's Phindi Mjonondwane said that a date for the inquest still needed to be determined.

FILE: Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu testifies at the Life Esidimeni hearing on 22 January 2018 in Parktown. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - More than three years after the Life Esidimeni tragedy came to light, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola will now approach the judge president's office to request the appointment of a presiding officer to chair the inquest into the unnecessary deaths.

Last week, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) requested that a judge be appointed to listen to evidence in the inquest in the High Court in Pretoria.

Last year, the State decided to launch a formal inquest into mass deaths related to the 2016 tragedy.

More than 140 patients died as a result of the Gauteng Health Department's decision to remove them from proper medical care to unlicensed and illegal NGOs.

The NPA's Phindi Mjonondwane said that a date for the inquest still needed to be determined.

"We'll await further guidance from the office of the judge president in relation to who he has appointed to preside over the joint inquest into the Life Esidimeni deaths and the duration of the inquest and the period in which the inquest will be heard."