3 August 2021 — The Inquest into the deaths of the Life Esidimeni tragedy has once again been adjourned, this time until the 30th of August 2021. This postponement, announced yesterday, will allow for legal representatives of potentially implicated parties to familiarise themselves with the legal documents, and for all parties to address procedural issues surrounding the running of the Inquest virtually.

This comes as the third adjournment of the Inquest because of issues from legal representation for potentially implicated persons. While SECTION27 respects the decision of the court, we note that this lengthy postponement will delay justice for the families of 144 mental healthcare users who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Judge Teffo, who is presiding over the Inquest stated yesterday: “It is in the interest of justice that we postpone this matter.”

Legal representatives are meeting with the evidence leader and Judge Teffo this week to chart a way forward for the Inquest. It is hoped that this meeting will clarify how witnesses will be lead and cross examined, and how best to run the Inquest virtually.

Some legal representatives hoped the proceedings would be postponed indefinitely until the session can be run in an open court. But Judge Teffo opted for the Inquest to resume virtually in the interest of public health, following directives from the Judge President of the High Court (Gauteng Division) that all matters should be held online.

SECTION27 hopes that this postponement will prevent further delays and that the Inquest will resume efficiently and effectively at the end of this month.


For media queries, contact: Julia Chaskalson (Communications officer, SECTION27) 0834402674