Police probing Esidimeni deaths still awaiting post-mortem reports
Police investigating the deaths of 115 Esidimeni mental health patients are still awaiting post-mortem reports from the Gauteng Health Department.
DA provincial health spokesman Jack Bloom said on Sunday this had been revealed by Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane in a written reply to his questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
He said according to Gauteng Police Commissioner Deliwe de Lange "the cases are investigated by a provincial team in conjunction with the Senior Public Prosecutor of Pretoria and the Director of Public Prosecutions. All cases are being centralised by the DPP and will be managed by the Provincial Investigation Unit".
According to the Health Department‚ 115 deaths were reported and 37 inquest dockets and 73 enquirer files were being investigated‚ Bloom said.
“This is the first confirmation of the real number of deaths since the Health Ombudsman reported 94 deaths and speculated that there were more than 100 deaths.
“I am disappointed that post-mortem reports are still awaited from the Health Department as this is critical evidence. These reports were surely done last year when unnatural deaths were suspected‚ so what is delaying the handover to the police?” Bloom queried.
He added that the Gauteng Health Department needed to account for the delayed post-mortem reports as justice for the Esidimeni victims was needed as soon as possible.