Ex-Life Esidemeni project manager regrets not fighting back over implementation

Levy Mosenogi said that he regretted not appealing to higher authorities to intervene in the implementation of the project and lived with the knowledge that if he had he could have saved many lives.

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 - Speak truth to power and don’t shy away from taking on political heads - those are two of the lessons that Levy Mosenogi said he would take from the Life Esidemeni scandal.

He was the project head and has this week been testifying at the official hearings into the tragedy.

The formal inquest is investigating whether anyone should be held criminally liable for the deaths of over 140 mentally ill patients after they were moved to ill-equipped NGOs in 2016.

Mosenogi, the man appointed to lead the disastrous project, was asked under cross-examination what lessons he had learnt.

"We must not shy away, we must be able to stand our ground when we know that what we are saying is right," he said.

Mosenogi became emotional on the stand on Tuesday as he told the court how he fought to keep open a centre that was caring for children suffering from severe mental illness.

He said that he regretted not appealing to higher authorities to intervene in the implementation of the project and lived with the knowledge that if he had he could have saved many lives.