Life Esidimeni death toll continues to rise


Retired chief justice Dikgang Moseneke presides over arbitration hearings for the families of more than 100 mentally ill patients who died after they were moved from Life Esidimeni homes into illegal and ill-equipped non-governmental organisations.

JOHANNESBURG - The death toll in the Life Esidimeni tragedy continues to rise. 

The Gauteng Health Department says 141 psychiatric patients died after being moved to unlicensed NGOs.

It has also emerged that some NGOs buried people without informing their families.

READ: Officials suspended, more NGOs shut down after Esidimeni tragedy

Acting head of the Gauteng Health Department, Dr Ernest Kenoshi, said between February and September 2017,  23 patients have died.

Seven were still under the care of the unlicensed NGOs, while the remaining 16 were in state institutions.

Judge Moseneke and the families were concerned that post-mortems were not performed on all the patients as they died due to unnatural causes.

"Any death that occurs in the republic, unlawfully, recklessly is an unnatural death and therefore requires investigation," said Judge Dikgang Moseneke, Esidimeni Arbitration Hearings Chairperson.

Moseneke has not ruled out the possibility of subpoenaing the police to come and testify about post-mortems.