Presiding officer into joint inquest of Life Esidimeni deaths to be appointed

Justice and constitutional development minister Ronald Lamola
Justice and constitutional development minister Ronald Lamola
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

Justice minister Ronald Lamola will approach the judge president's office to request the appointment of a presiding officer to chair the inquest into the avoidable  Life Esidimeni deaths.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the acting Director of Public Prosecutions ,Gauteng division in Pretoria, advocate George Baloyi took a decision to refer all Esidimeni matters to a joint inquest hearing on September 3 2019.

“Subsequent to his decision and as per dictates of section 6(d) of the Inquest Act 58 of 1959, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi submitted a request to minister Lamola to approach the JP’s office to appoint a presiding officer to preside over the inquest,” Mjonondwane said.

This came after the state decided to launch a formal inquest into mass deaths related to the 2016 tragedy.

More than 140 patients died as a result of the Gauteng health department's decision to remove them from proper medical care to unlicensed and illegal NGOs.

Mjonondwane said that a date for the inquest still needed to be determined.

"We'll await further guidance from the office of the judge president in relation to who he has appointed to preside over the joint inquest into the Life Esidimeni deaths and the duration of the inquest and the period in which the inquest will be heard."

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