Friday 19 July

26 June 2024, Johannesburg – The judgment in the Life Esidimeni inquest is set be delivered on Wednesday, 10 July 2024 by Judge Mmonoa Teffo of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

At the inquest, SECTION27 argued that the former Gauteng Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, the former Director of Mental Health Directorate, Dr Makgabo Manamela and the owner of Precious Angels NGO should be charged with culpable homicide for their involvement in the tragic deaths of 141 mental health care users who were relocated from Life Esidimeni in 2015 and 2016. SECTION27 represented 44 mental healthcare users who died in conditions of extreme neglect, with many of them being emaciated, dehydrated and suffering from bed sores.

The purpose of the inquest was for the Court to determine the cause of the deaths of the 141 mental health care users who died after they were transferred from Life Esidimeni into unlicenced and ill-prepared non-governmental organisations. The court is also tasked with determining whether, on the face of it, the conduct of any individual directly caused or contributed to these deaths. Following the court’s decision, the National Prosecuting Authority will decide on whether to pursue criminal prosecution.

SECTION27 recognises that the judgment cannot restore lost lives and dignity, but it carries the potential to enhance public confidence and reinforce accountability in governance. For the families of mental health care users who died after being transferred from Life Esidimeni, and indeed for the many people who have watched as the different legal processes relating to this case have unfolded over the past eight years, it has been a long wait for criminal accountability, and we look forward to Judge Teffo’s decision.

SECTION27’s full heads of argument can be found here.

For media queries contact: Pearl Nicodemus | nicodemus@section27.org.za | 082 298 2636


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