DA: More than 80 Life Esidimeni tragedy victims still waiting for compensation

It’s understood only R6.5 million of the R120 million set aside as compensation has been distributed this year with payment still outstanding for dozens of families.

FILE: A Life Esidimeni care centre in Boksburg. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng said more than 80 victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy were still waiting for their compensation.

It’s understood only R6.5 million of the R120 million set aside as compensation has been distributed this year with payment still outstanding for dozens of families.

Almost 1,600 psychiatric patients were caught up in the scandal when they were moved From Life Esidimeni centres to ill-equipped and underfunded NGOs in Gauteng in 2015.

At least 144 died, many in the most wretched of circumstances.

It was a scandal that rocked the country and years later some of the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy will need to wait even longer before they can receive all their compensation.

According to Gauteng Premier David Makhura's office, the underspending is due to lockdown restrictions which resulted in delays in the verification process of claimants.

The DA’s Jack Bloom said by failing to resolve these issues, government was being negligent of the inhumane treatment suffered by mental health patients.

“It’s very disappointing that after all these years, there are still 81 claimants of the Life Esidimeni tragedy who still haven’t been paid out. The vast majority of the budget this year has not been paid at all. I think it’s a great pity that we’ve got all these issues and I think it’s time for the Gauteng government to expedite all the payments.”

Meanwhile, the Gauteng government is expected to head to court next week to ask for a curator to be put in charge of administering the pay-out process

However, aggrieved family members want their own lawyers to administer the trust as they have doubts about the attorneys that are to be appointed by the provincial government.

WATCH: Another Life Esidimeni patient found

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