R1.2 million each for the victims of Life Esidimeni tragedy

Life Esidimeni

Life Esidimeni Arbitrator and the retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke has ordered the Department of Health to pay victims of the mental healthcare marathon project a total of R1.2 million each by no later than 19 June 2018.

Justice Moseneke said the marathon project in which the mentally ill patients were removed from the Life Esidimeni center into unlicensed, unmentored & unregistered NGO was inhumane and stripped victims of their dignity.

“Every element of the marathon project trampled on the dignity of the mental health care users in every way. The users were stripped of their dignity in life and death,” said the arbitrator.

A total of R1 million is to be paid to the victims for constitutional damages for the violation of their human rights.

In addition, R200 000 is to be paid by government which is divided as, R20 000 for funeral expenses while R180 000 is for the shock and trauma endured by the families.

Moseneke also ordered that a remembrance monument be erected at a public place to remind future generations of the importance of the case and of the plight of mental healthcare users.

He donated his arbitration fees to designated law schools and said he did so to allow future lawyers to carry out the work of standing up for those who could not defend themselves.

The award comes after the arbitration hearing saw families, senior government officials from the health department, members of the executive council of the province and non-profit organisations give testimony into the marathon project.


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