NEWS
29/03/2018 08:30 SAST | Updated 29/03/2018 08:30 SAST

Life Esidimeni Families Receive Financial Counselling

The families, who received arbitration awards of more than R1-million each, received financial counselling on how to manage their new capital.

Protests during the testimony of former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings on January 22, 2018 in Johannesburg.
Getty Images
Protests during the testimony of former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings on January 22, 2018 in Johannesburg.

The families of the Life Esidimeni tragedy victims have received financial counselling and advice on how to best use the R1.2-million compensation they will each receive, Times Select reported.

Earlier this month, each of the Life Esidimeni claimants received an arbitration award of R20,000 per victim for funeral costs, R180,000 in general damages, and R1-million each in compensation for breaches of the Constitution and the Mental Health Care Act to all claimants, to be paid within three months.

Section 27 attorney Sasha Stevenson confirmed to Times Select that financial counselling was provided to the families.

"Discovery provided a financial wellness workshop and offered free financial advice to our clients," she reportedly said.

Legal Aid advocate Lila Krouse told Times Select that the team had asked for damages for the families and a different amount to be awarded for the patient, but retired judge Dikgang Moseneke awarded a single amount to each claimant.

So each family will have to decide amongst themselves how to allocate the money.

Meanwhile, the police have handed over 45 cases to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) related to the tragedy, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported last week. The police are reportedly studying a further 90 inquest dockets that are "extremely complex", according to the police.

"If you look at the time they had passed on, some of them had been buried for a very long time. It is really complicated," the police's Vish Naidoo told EWN.

As for political accountability, the DA has filed a motion of no confidence in Gauteng premier David Makhura in the Gauteng provincial legislature, News24 reported. Moseneke's report was damning in its assessment of the conduct of senior Gauteng officials, primarily Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, former Gauteng health department head Dr Barney Selebano, and former Gauteng director of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela.

According to News24, Makhura told the arbitration hearings that he was assured by Selebano and Mahlangu that the state had no capacity to house the patients at government facilities. He said he would have intervened, had he known the patients were going to be moved to ill-equipped NGOs. But the DA's Jack Bloom said Makhura's claim of ignorance were not "credible".