South Africa

Male & female patients mixed together during Esidimeni move, court hears

CAPE TOWN – The Life Esidimeni hearing in the Pretoria High Court has heard harrowing stories of how officials were not prepared for the move of dozens of patients, following the group's surprise announcement that it would be closing down.

Day one of this week's hearings into the tragedy wrapped up on Monday and is set to resume on Tuesday.

The inquiry is trying to establish if anyone should be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 patients who lost their lives in 2016.

Former Gauteng senior health official Hannah Jacobus was the sixth witness to take the stand, being cross-examined by the state's Advocate Willem Pienaar.

The court heard how male patients were mixed with females and adult patients were mistakenly sent to child-centred facilities.

During the move, Jacobus said patients were also left stranded in buses and facility lobby's while they rushed to establish an action plan.

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Jacobus testified that neither the alternative hospitals nor selected NGOs were adequately equipped to house the patients at the time of the move.

She is set to be back on the stand on Tuesday when proceedings resume.

Artmotion S.Africa

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