Life Esidimeni: Lebethe explains why patient deaths reported to police

Former Gauteng deputy director-general for clinical services, Dr Richard Lebethe, is being cross-examined at the inquest into the deaths of over 140 mental health patients in 2016 after they were moved from Life Esidimeni facilities.

Dr Richard Lebethe (R) testifying at the Life Esidimeni Inquest on 9 September 2021. Picture: Judiciary RSA/YouTube screengrab.

JOHANNESBURG - The former Gauteng deputy director-general for clinical services, Dr Richard Lebethe, has been asked to state who gave the order for the bodies of some mental health patients who had died at NGOs to undergo post-mortems.

Lebethe is being cross-examined at the inquest into the deaths of over 140 mental health patients in 2016 after they were moved from Life Esidimeni facilities.

He said that post-mortems were standard procedure for persons who had died at institutions but he became involved at the request of former Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu.

Lebethe explained why the deaths first had to first be reported to the police: "What should be understood is that in forensic pathology, for any physical body to go into forensic pathology it needs a case docket that is opened. You can't just send a body to forensic pathology."

WATCH: Life Esidimeni inquest

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.