Inquest to be held into Life Esidimeni deaths

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has acceded to a request by the National Prosecuting Authority that a joint hearing be conducted into the Life Esidimeni deaths, and has requested that Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo designate a judge to preside over an inquest in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. News24 reports that this comes after the acting director of public prosecutions in Gauteng, advocate George Baloyi, referred the docket for a formal inquest in September, more than three years after the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

An arbitration was established on the recommendation of the health ombudsman after the release of a damning report which detailed findings regarding the deaths of psychiatric patients when they were transferred to unsuitable NGOs in 2015.

In April 2017, the NPA received 144 dockets relating to the tragedy. Baloyi then assembled a team of four experience advocates to work with investigators to collect more information and build a case. The process "has revealed that the evidence at our disposal currently, is not enough to prove causation of death nor is it enough to help us link the actions of different role players to the eventual deaths".

The report says based on this background, a determination was made whether a prima facie case justifying prosecution could be made.

Full News24 report

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