Mahlangu was arrogant towards families of Life Esidimeni victims - Buthelezi

Former nursing manager at Life Esidimeni Zanele Buthelezi said family members had been to visit some of the NGOs that were earmarked to receive patients and they weren't happy with the ill-equipped and illegal set up.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The former nursing manager at Life Esidimeni said former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu was arrogant and unable to answer the many questions posed by families ahead of the chaotic and illegal transfer of their loved ones.

Zanele Buthelezi was testifying on Monday at the inquest into the disastrous project in 2016 that resulted in the deaths of at least 144 psychiatric patients who were starved and neglected.

She said family members had been to visit some of the NGOs that were earmarked to receive patients and they weren't happy with the ill-equipped and illegal set up.

She said they met with the former MEC hoping to get clarity.

"Firstly, she was harsh when responding to the families, secondly, her facial expression was that of undermining. And thirdly, she was dismissing the questions and she was choosing who to point, she’ll actually say, 'not you,'" Buthelezi recounted.

Buthelezi on Monday told the court that they were given a list that did not give details of which NGOs would be able to receive some mental health patients according to their care needs.

“All that she provided, that I know of, was a list to say by this time, so many patience in Waverly need to be out.”

Buthelezi explained why she said the admission criteria was important: “Some NGOs would say they don’t want patience with a history of substance abuse and gender was also one of the determinations.”

The Life Esidimeni Inquest resumed on Tuesday morning with lawyers expected to continue their cross-examination of Buthelezi.

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