200 new Esidimeni compensation claims lodged worth R236m, says DA

A total of 200 new Esidimeni compensation claims have been lodged by families of affected patients, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

"Payouts to 200 claimants would cost about R236m," said DA MPL Jack Bloom.

"So far, R159m has been paid to claimants, which means that the total amount that will be paid that includes other expenses will be over R400m."

"It’s a steep but necessary cost to provide redress," he said.

Bloom said that the Gauteng premier's spokesperson Thabo Masebe revealed the latest claims at a meeting last week of the Gauteng Legislature’s Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office and Legislature.

According to Masebe, most of the claims have been verified as being covered by the arbitration ruling made by Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

There were apparently "a few instances" of different family members disputing a claim.

Payments

Justice Moseneke in March ruled that R1m be paid to each claimant for constitutional damages, R180 000 for emotional trauma, and R20 000 funeral expenses for those who died.

"This means that R1.2m will be paid to relatives of those who died, and R1 180 000 to relatives of patients who survived."

At least 144 psychiatric patients died in 2016 after the Gauteng department of health moved 1 700 mentally ill people from Life Esidimeni homes into ill-equipped NGOs and state facilities.

The most recent claims made were from the families of patients who survived the move.

Masebe could not be reached for additional comment on his mobile phone on Sunday.