Who is responsible for the Life Esidimeni tragedy?

The Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings have exceeded expectations, allowing relatives to express their pain and accused individuals a chance to be cross-examined.

The arbitration aimed at achieving truth, justice, and redress for the families of the 143 patients who died, after the Gauteng government in 2016 moved mentally ill patients out of Life Esidimeni and into NGOs. It has successfully uncovered evidence that could lead to criminal charges against top health officials and exposed attempts to cover up their culpability.

Dr Kgosi Letlape, President of The Health Professions Council of South Africa tells 702's Aubrey Masango that in order to determine the cause of tragedies such as Life Esidimeni then arbitration hearings and inquisitions are needed to get to the root of the problem.

What concerns us is clearly, it is a system failure.

Dr Kgosi Letlape, President of The Health Professions Council of South Africa

And the question we should ask is - what is wrong with the system?

Dr Kgosi Letlape, President of The Health Professions Council of South Africa

Letlape says their motto is to guide professions and protect the public. He adds that an environment where health professionals are able to uphold their oath is needed.

If you look at the key issues being dealt with at Esidimeni, they are contracting issues which are inevitably a systems issue and lies beyond the realm of the day to day professional, he adds.

Zamo Mbele, Clinical psychologist and board member at the South African Depression And Anxiety Group (Sadag) when they first brought the matter up, it was in conjunction with the professionals operating at Life Esidimeni.

The long and short of it is that the professionals were ignored in a way.

Zamo Mbele, Clinical psychologist and board member at the South African Depression And Anxiety Group (Sadag)

As has been the case with the hearings, there is real evidence that many health professionals objected to the move, and the system silenced many individuals to push ahead with their agenda, explains Mbele.

Listen to the clip below for more on the Life Esidimeni conversation:


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