The health ombudsman's finding that patients transferred from Life Esidimeni facilities to the care of NGOs died in "unlawful circumstances" at two of them, Masego and Takalani, has been overturned.
This is the first ruling of the ad hoc independent appeals tribunal appointed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to consider appeals against ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba's findings, to contradict a finding.
Retired judge Bernard Ngoepe is presiding at the tribunal.
More than 141 Life Esidimeni patients died after being moved to NGOs.
Ngoepe, in giving his ruling, said that the Gauteng health department has for years been transferring patients to NGOs and that it was undisputed that Life Healthcare, parent company of Life Esidimeni, held back the medical records of patients from the facilities to which they were moved. The private hospital operator has denied this.