Life Esidimeni: Ex-GP Health Dept official wanted deaths reported to police

Dr Richard Lebethe, the former deputy director of clinical services for the Gauteng Department of Health, said that on learning of the deaths of some patients transferred from Life Esidimeni facilities, he requested that these be reported to the police so that autopsies could be conducted.

A collage of the families of the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy with pictures of the loved ones that they lost. Picture: @LifeEsidimeni/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The inquest into the deaths of over 140 mental health patients has heard the statement of Dr Richard Lebethe, the former deputy director of clinical services for the Gauteng Department of Health.

Lebethe said that upon learning about the deaths of some patients transferred from Life Esidimeni facilities, he requested that these be reported to the police so that autopsies could be conducted.

Lebethe’s lawyer read out his statement on Sizwe Hlatswayo, a patient who was transferred to Anchor NGO and was among those who had passed away.

"I learned that the family learned of his passing and collected the body with a private undertaker for burial on Friday. On the same date, I requested the social worker and the director of mental health to accompany me in visting the family with the intention of requesting and persuading the family to allow for a post-mortem to be conducted on the deceased."

Lebethe met with Hlatswayo’s family, who he said were unhappy but agreed to his request.

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