By Kaya 959 News
The Inquest into the deaths of the Life Esidimeni tragedy has once again been adjourned until the end of the month.
The postponement announced on Monday is to allow for legal representatives of potentially implicated parties to familiarise themselves with the legal documents.
“It is also for all parties to address procedural issues surrounding the running of the Inquest virtually,” explained Section 27’s Julia Chaskalson.
This is now the third time the matter has been adjourned due to issues from legal representation for potentially implicated persons.
“While Section27 respects the decision of the court, we note that this lengthy postponement will delay justice for the families of 144 mental healthcare users who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy,” she said.
“It is in the interest of justice that we postpone this matter,” said presiding Judge, Mmonao Teffo.
The #LifeEsidimeniInquest into the deaths of 144 mental healthcare users who were moved from Life Esidimeni in 2016 begins 19 July 2021. #NeverAgain can a tragedy like this occur. We support the families of the deceased in remembering their loved ones and calling for justice. pic.twitter.com/HeNexK56ZT
— SECTION27 (@SECTION27news) July 15, 2021
Calls for open court proceedings
Legal representatives are meeting with the evidence leader and Judge Teffo this week to chart a way forward for the Inquest. It is hoped that this meeting will clarify how witnesses will be lead and cross-examined, and how best to run the Inquest virtually.
Chaskalson said some legal representatives hoped the proceedings would be postponed indefinitely until the session can be run in an open court.
But Judge Teffo opted for the Inquest to resume virtually in the interest of public health, following directives from the Judge President of the High Court (Gauteng Division) that all matters should be held online.
“Section 27 hopes that this postponement will prevent further delays and that the Inquest will resume efficiently and effectively at the end of this month,” she said.
Judge Teffo has urged the affected parties to make sure they are prepared for the resumption of the matter on August 30. He warned that further delays in the case will not be entertained.
REMEMBERING LIFE ESIDIMENI | Emily Mthembu died in the #LifeEsidimeni tragedy. Today, the #Inquest continues. Emily’s brother, Thamsanqa, wants the memorial promised by govt to be erected. #SayTheirNames
Sign the petition for a memorial here: https://t.co/XUWwQowlOi pic.twitter.com/CvE5nHniop
— SECTION27 (@SECTION27news) August 2, 2021