Right now, the only thing Life Esidimeni bereaved have is hope

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Right now, the only thing Life Esidimeni bereaved have is hope

An inquest into the tragedy starts in July, but those involved are hesitant as little has been achieved since 2016

Gill Gifford

“One out of every 10 people in SA and that is a huge number we can’t ignore,” said Christine Nxumalo, one of hundreds of bereaved relatives who lost a family member in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, an event that has shed light on the unprecedented and continuing mental health crisis facing the country.

As justice remains elusive, hope that the reasons for and the terrible ways in which 144 psychiatric patients died in the public health system’s care in 2016 will emerge in less than two months is growing.

The discharge of 1,300 patients in the care of Life Esidimeni to other facilities or their families will be the focus of a Pretoria high court inquest due to start on July 19. Judge Mmonoa Teffo will preside over the matter, which is set down for 30 days. The case will see public interest law centre Section27 representing 35 bereaved families and will be open to the public...

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