Mosenogi: I was instructed to finish Life Esidimeni transfers in 3 months

Levy Mosenoge has been cross examined about the 2016 termination of the contract between Life Esidimeni and the department which ultimately led to the deaths of more than 140 mentally ill patients.

FILE: State witness Levy Mosenogi, the Gauteng Health Department Chief Director of planning, policy and research, testifies during the Life Esidimeni arbitration process. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - A former Gauteng health official has told the Life Esidemeni hearings that he was given just three months to complete the project he’d told the health MEC would take a year.

Levy Mosenogi has been cross examined about the 2016 termination of the contract between Life Esidimeni and the department, which ultimately led to the deaths of more than 140 mentally ill patients.

Proceedings resumed on Monday after a six-week postponement.

Mosenogi is the man who was tasked with leading the transfer of patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to various NGOs.

He’s told the court he asked for an extension of between six and twelve months to complete the project, but he was told to get it done in three months.

Mosenogi said he requested the extension after he realised it would be impossible for the department to meet the deadline and ensure that all mentally ill patients were accommodated.

“I accepted the extension of three months but I don’t think I ever said it was sufficient.”

Former MEC Qedani Mahlangu has argued through her lawyer that had Mosenogi told her that a three-month extension was not sufficient, she would have applied her mind.

MY ROLE WAS TO JUST 'COORDINATE'

Mosenogi has told the High Court in Pretoria of his unhappiness at being told to manage the transfer of mentally ill patients from Life Esidemeni.

Under cross examination, he told the court that was because mental health was not his specialty.

Mosenogi told the Life Esidimeni hearings that he was not exposed to people with mental healthcare needs prior to the Life Esidimeni project. And as such, he was uncomfortable leading the team.

He said while he was appointed to lead the transfer of patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to various NGOs, his role was mainly to coordinate.