Life Esidimeni inquest postponed to give lawyers time to prepare

The court has spent the day hearing submissions from lawyers with some stating that they are not yet ready to proceed.

FILE: Life Esidimeni Waverley Care Centre Hospital in Boksburg. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The Life Esidimeni inquest was postponed again on Monday, this time for a further four weeks to give newly appointed legal representatives time to consult their clients and to familiarise themselves with the case.

The court spent the day hearing submissions from lawyers with some stating that they were not ready to proceed.

The inquiry was tasked with determining whether anyone should be held criminally liable for the deaths of at least 144 mentally ill patients after they were moved to ill-equipped NGOs in 2016.

Advocate Russel Sibari, representing former Gauteng head of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela, accused the court of being prejudiced towards his client without her having a lawyer.

Judge Mmonao Teffo disagreed: “The witness will not be compelled to answer that question if it relayed to the evidence that the witness feels is going to implicate him or her.”

She argued that it was in the interests of justice to postpone the proceedings that will resume on 30 August.

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