Buthelezi details last minute changes, rushed move of Life Esidimeni patients

Zanele Buthelezi, who was cross-examined on Wednesday at the inquest into the deaths of 144 patients, has testified about a ‘rush-rush’ process when patients were moved.

A screengrab of Zanele Buthelezi (top right) giving testimony at the Life Esidimeni inquest on 7 September 2021. Picture: Judiciary RSA/Youtube

JOHANNESBURG - A former Life Esidimeni nurse has described last minute changes to the lists they were given by the Gauteng Department of Health to prepare for the transfer of mental health patients to receiving NGOs.

Zanele Buthelezi, who was cross-examined on Wednesday at the inquest into the deaths of 144 patients, has testified about a ‘rush-rush’ process when patients were moved.

Buthelezi said while the transfer of the first and second batch of patients went very smoothly, they experienced problems with the next groups.

“Then we would get an email and you’ll find that it was sent at night when we were not there. We see it in the morning with an additional number, then it will be a rush-rush, we have to draw everybody from the wards.”

She said before the overnight changes, they had up to two weeks to prepare patients for the move.

The former nursing manager is expected back in the virtual court sitting for a fourth day this week.

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