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Esidimeni families’ lawyer threatens to take GP govt to court over compensation

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke found that government officials acted in breach of the law and the Constitution, and ordered that more than R1 million be paid to the families of more than 144 mental health patients.

The plaque unveiled by DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday, remembering the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – The law firm representing more than 100 families affected by the Esidimeni tragedy, Ulrich Roux and Associates, has threatened to go to court if their clients don’t receive the outstanding compensation money owed to them by government before the end of next week.

One-hundred-and-forty-four patients died as a result of the Gauteng health department's decision to remove them from proper medical care in 2016.

More than two years ago, the commission of inquiry into the tragedy – which was chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke – found that government officials acted in breach of the law and the Constitution when they ended the Life Esidimeni contract and moved the patients to ill-equipped non-governmental organisations.

Moseneke also ordered that more than R1 million be paid to the families of more than 144 mental health patients.

However, their attorney Ulrich Roux claims some only received half of the payment while others are still waiting.

“Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke was very clear in his award that anyone who has suffered as a result can come forward and are entitled to claim compensation as ordered by him.”
But the Gauteng government's spokesperson Thabo Masebe said these families were not part of the arbitration process.

“The Gauteng government complied with the Justice Dikgang Moseneke’s award. He ordered us to make payment to people who were we all listed in the annexure that is provided, and we paid all of the people that he had ordered us to pay within the stipulated time.”

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