Esidimeni victim ate files, plastic


JOHANNESBURG - The Life Esidimeni arbitrations hearings resumed on Wednesday afternoon and more families have testified about the trauma of losing their loved ones.

JOHANNESBURG – The Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings resumed in Parktown on Wednesday.

The State indicated it is still trying to determine the whereabouts of former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

The former Health MEC is the one who approved the Esidimeni project transfer and has been subpoenaed to appear before the inquiry.

READ: Former Health MEC to be subpoenaed for Esidimeni testimony

In the meantime, more families have testified about the trauma of losing their loved ones.

A number of witnesses have testified that the Director of Mental Health was a key decisionmaker in the transfers that led to the deaths of 141 psychiatric patients.

A woman who lost her daughter in the tragedy told the hearings in Johannesburg of the shocking conditions her child was kept in.

Maria Phehla said her daughter was never fed.

“To my knowledge, they locked her up. I don’t know why, was she a dog? To me it seems they locked her up, they forgot there was a human being living there. They never gave her food. She ate these brown papers, I don’t know where she got the plastic that she ate.

"There were old files in a cupboard where she was kept. She ate those files and plastics because she was starving. They forgot she was there, she was hungry. And what did they say when you asked these questions? I never got any answers from the matron,” Phehla added.

* Please note, some of this testimony is graphic