Life Esidimeni families to receive R200 000

FILE PHOTO: Family members become emotional as the admin officer of the Mamelodi Hospital Mortuary, Daniel Buda, describes the condition of a body during the Life Esidimeni hearings in Parktown, Johannesburg.
FILE PHOTO: Family members become emotional as the admin officer of the Mamelodi Hospital Mortuary, Daniel Buda, describes the condition of a body during the Life Esidimeni hearings in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Image: ALAISTER RUSSELL

The families of victims in the Life Esidimeni tragedy will each receive R200 000 for funeral costs and emotional trauma.

Section 27 earlier today announced that an agreement has been reached between the social justice organisation and the State. The organisation is representing families of 74 people who died during and after the transfer of patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to NGO’s.

Advocate Adila Hassim, appearing on behalf of Section 27, said the State agreed to a R20 000 claim per family for funeral expenses, while agreeing to R180 000 for emotional shock, psychological injury and counselling services.

However, Hassim said no agreement had been reached on constitutional damages and that argument for "appropriate relief" is yet to be made.

It was placed on record during the arbitration hearings in Johannesburg today that the parties reached an agreement with regards to part of the claim.

Advocate Tebogo Hutamo who is acting on behalf of the state confirmed that agreement with regards to the R200 000.

Hutamo said they did not antipate that they would reach common ground when coming to constitutional rights.

Section27 is representing more than 70 families in the arbitration process.

The arbitration which is being headed by retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Monoseneke was called after more than a 100 psychiatric patients died from hunger, dehydration and other forms of neglect.

A damning report by South Africa's health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba exposed harrowing details of how patients died after they were removed from Life Esidimeni facilities and placed in unlicensed NGOs. 

Additional reporting by Tankiso Makhetha

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