Life Esidimeni inquest: Official admits he wasn't a mental health expert

Levy Mosenogi was tasked with leading the transfer of patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to NGOs in 2016.

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 - A former Gauteng Health Department official told the Life Esidimeni inquest that in hindsight, he believed that he should have had a mental healthcare background to successfully implement the relocation of over 2,000 psychiatric patients.

Levy Mosenogi was tasked with leading the transfer of patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to NGOs in 2016.

He's been giving evidence at the inquest into the deaths of 144 people.

Mosenogi is the Gauteng Health Department's former chief director for planning, policy and research.

He was appointed by then-MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, to head the relocation of mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to NGOs.

Mosenogi told the inquiry on Wednesday that despite being the man responsible for overseeing the project, he was not an expert in mental healthcare and didn’t know the type of care that psychiatric patients needed.

Evidence leader Advocate Pieter Luyt read his statement: “I am not an expert on mental health and it was the first time that we worked with mental health institutions and providers and people.”

Mosenogi has described the relocation of patients as chaotic, saying that he asked for a six-month to a year extension for the project but was only granted three months.

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