Witness distances NGOs from Life Esidimeni saga, saying they were set up to fail

A witness has told the Life Esidimeni hearings that NGOs had been set up for failure and could not be held liable for the deaths of mentally ill patients.

Family members who lost loved ones in the Life Esidimeni tragedy attend a memorial service hosted by the DA. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A witness has told the Life Esidimeni hearings that she plans to argue that NGOs had been set up for failure and could not be held liable for the deaths of mentally ill patients.

Visit our full coverage of the Life Esidimeni hearings
Patricia Mbatsha ran the Ubuhle Benkosi NGO, where some of the Life Esidimeni patients were relocated without proper documentation and medical records.

The formal inquest, which is investigating the deaths of over 140 mentally ill patients who died after being moved to various NGOs, resumed this week in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Mbatsha's lawyer, Advocate Ebenezer Prophy, cross-examined Life Esidimeni project leader Levy Mosenogi about the Gauteng Health Department's failure to adequately prepare NGOs for the relocation of patients.

Prophy told the court that his client would argue when she takes the stand that NGOs were disadvantaged by the department.

A statement Mosenogi did not disagree with.

“We prepared them in terms of making sure that they were supervised properly and their challenges are attended to on time,” he said.