South Africa

Life Esidimeni

A timeline of pain and death and suffering

A timeline of pain and death and suffering
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – MARCH 19: Retired chief justice Dikgang Moseneke releases the Life Esidimeni arbitration findings on March 19, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Moseneke ordered the government to pay R1.2 million to each of the bereaved families. (Photo by Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

Today is the first ever Mental Health Action Day. Given the unprecedented scale of the mental health crisis in SA and globally we are encouraged to think about our own mental health and that of our loved ones.

We are also encouraged to stand up for people’s rights of access to mental health care services and to help destigmatise mental illness. In South Africa, the lowest moment in our management of mental health occurred in 2016 when over 1,000 mental health care users were tortured and abused after the Life Esidimeni long term care facility was closed. This caused over 144 deaths. Today a special online memorial website is being launched by the families, SADAG and SECTION27. Below we provide the timelines (a) leading to the disaster as well as a second timeline, Justice Unfinished, of what has happened and not happened between the end of the Arbitration under former deputy Chief Justice Moseneke in 2018 and the inquest that will start on 19 July 2021.

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