'What have we done?' Qedani Mahlangu asked at Esidimeni hearings

22 January 2018 - 11:18 By Katharine Child
Former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.
Former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.
Image: Tsheko Kabasia

Families of Life Esidimeni victims broke into song when former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu entered the room to begin her first day of testimony at the Esidimeni hearings.

As she walked in‚ they stood up and began to sing Senzeni Na? (What have we done?)

Mahlangu recently returned from London‚ where she has been pursuing a master's degree at the Global School of Banking‚ affiliated to the University of Bedfordshire.

During Monday's appearance at the hearings‚ it was revealed that Mahlangu had fired her previous legal team and hired new lawyers. Advocate Lebogang Mmusi was hired on Friday night.

Mmusi said: "We burned the midnight oil."

He said Mahlangu was ready to start testifying and a witness statement would be handed in later on Monday.

The first question evidence leader Patrick Ngutshana asked Mahlangu was why she could not testify in October. He suggested she may have been trying to avoid the hearing.

She said when she started studying in the UK no one in government had told her about the hearings.

"I didn't run away. I never ran away. I have a home and a family here‚" she said.

"My commitment was with my studies … I have never run away from this … I have never had any intention of running away. It is not in my nature to do so."

She said she had been advised by her previous attorneys to testify in January.

Former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu took the stand on 22 January 2018 to give her account of the Life Esidimeni tragedy. More than 140 mental health patients lost their lives after they were...