Move of Esidimeni patients was labeled business opportunity to NGOs - witness

At least 144 mentally ill patients died in 2016 after they were moved by the provincial health department to under resourced and illegal NGOs.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria has heard how the Gauteng Department of Health presented the mammoth task of looking after mentally ill patients as a business opportunity to aspirant NGOs.

The formal inquest into the Life Esidimeni tragedy continued on Tuesday.

At least 144 mentally ill patients died in 2016 after they were moved by the provincial health department to under resourced and illegal NGOs.

READ: Life Esidimeni inquest: Sadag says that their offer to support patients ignored

Busuku Mkhatshwa is the second witness in the formal inquest, he is a medical doctor and former managing director at Life Esidimeni.

He said many of the NGOs, even those who were already existing, were not capacitated to look after mentally ill patients.

He said for those who had never looked after the vulnerable, this appeared to be a business opportunity.

This was contained in Mkhatwha's affidavit that was read out by evidence leader advocate Mari Marriott.

Mkhatshwa said their concerns were constantly ignored or shut down.

WATCH: Day 2 of Life Esidimeni inquest

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