It has been a week of high emotions at the Life Esidimeni hearings in Johannesburg. Mentally ill patients died after being transported to NGOs.
The arbitration hearing is looking for answers to this tragedy.
EWN reporter, Masego Rahlaga has been following the proceedings this week. She reports that the number of deaths has increased from the numbers released initially.
When former Gauteng Health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu announced that there were deaths in the provincial legislature, she said there were 36 deaths.— Masego Rahlaga, EWN reporter
Rahlaga adds that following Mahlangu death pronouncements, the Health Ombudsman announced earlier this year, and again this week during the hearings, that the death toll numbers differed.
By October last year, the number has risen to 82. Then earlier this year we found out from the Health Ombudsman in his report that he actually flagged 94 silent deaths.— Masego Rahlaga, EWN reporter
Rahlaga goes on to say this week, the Ombudsman said the number of fatalities stood at 118 and now the Gauteng Department's acting HOD has confirmed that the death toll is now at 141.
Of this 141, 23 died after he had concluded his investigation which is why he wasn't aware of the 23 additional deaths, explains Rahlaga.
On Friday morning, Dr Kenoshi took the stand. He gave updates on how far the criminal cases are. Remember there are between 35 and 76 inquiries that the South African Police Services (Saps) are investigating along with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).— Masego Rahlaga, EWN reporter
She adds that the cases were brought by families of the victims. Rahlaga goes on to say Dr. Kenoshi also spoke on what the health department has done so far in terms of implementing the Health Ombudsman's recommendations.
Rahlaga reports that only 26 postmortems have been performed out of the 141 deaths. She explains that Dr. Kenoshi said these few postmortems were only conducted after the health ombudsman released his report.
Family members are still saying the person that should be proving answers is Qedani Mahlangu.— Masego Rahlaga, EWN reporter
Listen to the full interview in the audio clip below: