Esidimeni families challenge compensation payment structure

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Aggrieved relatives of Life Esidimeni survivors are threatening to take the Gauteng government to the Public Protector to force it to release the outstanding 50% of the R1,180,000 in compensation claims, says a Sunday Independent report. The families feared that outstanding funds, set aside for the care of psychiatric patients who survived the transfer to illegal NGOs that led to the death of 144 patients, would be released to hospital groups appointed to care for the surviving patients.

Rashieda Landis, a Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor in the City of Johannesburg and a member of the newly formed committee representing families of survivors, said they were promised the full amount in December but only received 50% and were informed that the rest would be kept in a trust. Landis’ son, Sedick Isaacs, 40, was transferred to an ill-equipped NGO called Kanana in Vereeniging during the Life Esidimeni disaster. She recalled finding him and other patients starving when she went to visit him at the time.

According to the report, Landis said families preferred the balance to be paid into their appointed bank accounts, and not into a High Court master’s trust fund as suggested by the provincial government.

Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said the government paid compensation to all families who were part of the arbitration proceedings in line with retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke’s judgment.

Sunday Independent report (subscription needed)

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