Esidimeni tragedy: SAPS investigating cases of murder, negligence

File: The families of the patients who died after being moved from Life Esidimeni centre in Gauteng are outraged at officials. Police are now investigating cases of murder and negligence in the aftermath of the tragedy. Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandlaf

JOHANNESBURG - Police are investigating several cases of murder and negligence, following shocking findings by the health ombudsman on the Esidimeni tragedy.

Ninety-four people died after the Gauteng Health Department moved them from Life Esidimeni and other facilities, to NGOs.

It's emerged many of those NGOs were not licensed to care for the mentally ill.

MEC Qedani Mahlangu has since resigned.

She's one of 12 officials implicated in the ombudsman’s report.

WATCH: Life Esidimeni report released

Two others are accused of misconduct and tampering with evidence.

Family members are demanding justice, saying a resignation is simply NOT enough.



A legal expert says families may find some relief in the courts, but murder will be hard to prove.

“You certainly charge them for negligence, the law would want to know that they knowingly proceeded to do what they had done," said Unisa Law Expert, Professor Lesiba Teffo.

"There are many people implicated here there will be disciplinary cases taken internally."

President Jacob Zuma, meanwhile has sent his condolences to the families of the mentally ill patients who died in Gauteng.



He's thanked Health Ombudsman, Prof. Malegapuru Makgoba, for his investigative work, which could help government ensure this does not happen again.

Zuma says the health minister will advise him on what steps will be taken, to ensure the utmost care is given to psychiatric patients.

Government says the report's recommendations will guide all remedial steps.




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