[WATCH LIVE] Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings

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[WATCH LIVE] Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings

The Gauteng health department is expected to give testimony on Monday about what caused the deaths of more than 100 mentally ill patients who died while in the state's care.

Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is heading the arbitration hearings between the State and the families of victims in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

He said more than 80% of the patients died in only five of the NGOs to which they were moved.

Groenewald said the actions of the Gauteng health department in the matter had gone against the Constitution, South Africa's domestic laws, as well as global conventions when the department ended its contract with Life Esidimeni and transferred patients to various NGOs throughout the province.

"The things I found were overcrowding in those 5 NGOs".

From the story of a man who had lost so much weight he had to hold up his pants with shoelaces, to a son who was so hungry he also ate the packaging of the food a relative had brought him.

Section 27 spokeswoman Nomatter Ndebele said they would be making submissions as well on how the process could have been handled to avoid the deaths of patients.

Earlier during proceedings, Moseneke heard how mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni were transported to NGOs in bakkies and trucks to save costs.

"The State would want to assure the affected members and the nation at large that [it] will take every measure to ensure the family members find redress and closure emanating from the incidents which occurred..."

Hutamo represented the Gauteng health department and the provincial government.

While patients from Life Esidimeni were moved to a facility in Cullinan, 10 patients from that facility were moved to an unlicensed facility which didn't have the resources or staff with the necessary qualifications.

Hutamo said the fact that the State willingly made a decision to take part in the arbitration process and engaged affected family members before Health Ombud Professor Malegapuru Makgoba's report was released, was an indication that it took responsibility.

Hassin said the treatment patients and their families experienced would be best told by her clients, who are demanding, among others, compensation, the truth on what exactly happened to their loved ones, and an apology.

Section 27 said they would subpoena the former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, who resigned after the Ombud released his report, if she did not willingly attend the arbitration proceedings.

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