Gauteng Premier David Makhura has welcomed the announcement of the Life Esidimeni Alternative Dispute Resolution process led by the retired judge, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Premier Makhura said: “I want to reiterate the commitment I made to the families earlier this year: I will spend the remainder of my term over the next two years, to ensure that there is restorative justice and healing for the families and take every executive action possible to restore confidence in our public health system.”
Addressing the media on Tuesday, 12 September 2017, Justice Moseneke said the State had conceded that the conduct of its functionaries and employees unlawfully and negligently caused the death of the deceased or other bodily or emotional or psychological harm to the survivors of the tragedy. As a result, the State is liable to afford all of them equitable redress including compensation.
“The primary role of the Arbitrator will be to lead the process; to give a proper hearing to the State and the claimant families; to receive or cause to be tendered evidence, including expert evidence on any relevant matter; and to make a binding award of compensation that in all circumstances would be just and equitable,” said Moseneke.
The starting point of the arbitration agreement is that the National Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi and the Gauteng Premier David Makhura, acting on behalf of the State, have conceded unconditionally the legal merits of the claims by each of the claimants which are more fully described in the arbitration agreement, also referred to as the Terms of Reference. He further explained that given the unusual and peculiar nature of the dispute, the Arbitrator must also facilitate and allow space for the families and other affected people to testify about their deep loss and to grieve in the trust of finding closure.
To this end, the Arbitrator and parties to the Life Esidimeni ADR process and their legal representatives have agreed to hold public hearings, save when some compelling consideration requires otherwise, at Emoyeni Conference Centre, 15 Jubilee Road, Parktown, Johannesburg, for three weeks starting from Monday, 9 October 2017 to 30 October 2017. If it is necessary, further public hearings will be held. At the end of process the Arbitrator is required to issue a binding award that represents equitable redress.
“We appeal to the families of the deceased or affected patients who have not already done so to come forth and join the process, it is not late to do so,” said former Chief Justice Moseneke.
To this end, only 60 families are part of Arbitration process out of a total of 110 families that are reported to have been affected by the tragedy.
Premier Makhura urged other families to take this opportunity and be part of the arbitration process. “The Life Esidimeni tragedy has spur us into action over the next two years to restore the dignity and human rights of mental health patients and all vulnerable groups in our communities,” said Makhura.
Issued by Gauteng Provincial Government