Mosenogi says Life Esidimeni project deadline couldn't be reversed

Levy Mosenogi was the man appointed to lead the relocation of about 2,000 mentally ill patients to various NGO’s in 2016.

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 Gauteng health official has told the Life Esidimeni hearings that he was directed to implement the marathon project because its deadline couldn’t be reversed.

Levy Mosenogi was the man appointed to lead the relocation of about 2,000 mentally ill patients to various NGOs in 2016.

The formal inquest is investigating whether anyone should be held criminally liable for the deaths of over 140 patients.

Mosenogi has been on the witness stand for a week now - where his testimony about what lead to the Life Esidimeni tragedy is being scrutinised.

He’s told the hearings that he and his colleagues who were working on the project were put under immense pressure to see it through no matter what.

"Basically, I think the main thing is that what was driving me and most of us was that the deadline was no longer negotiable".

He said he was worried about where the mentally ill patients would be accommodated after the termination of the Life Esidimeni contract.

"People are resigning at that partner because they have to look for other work, they were not waiting to be retrenched".

Mosenogi said most of his colleagues were afraid of then MEC Qedani Mahlangu who insisted the implementation of the project couldn’t be reversed.