'The truth is out': Life Esidimeni families glad they fought for justice

20 March 2018 - 09:00 By Katharine Child
Family members celebrate after former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke ordered that the government pay R1.2 million to the families who were affected by the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
Family members celebrate after former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke ordered that the government pay R1.2 million to the families who were affected by the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Marie Colitz, whose husband Freddie died at the Masego Home in Krugersdorp in an emaciated state, thought the “story” of her husband’s death at an NGO would be hers to bear alone.

“It was my story,” she says of her personal suffering. But now “the truth is out”, she says, thanks to the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings.

“I thought it was only my story... but now it’s so big, I mean it’s 144 people’s story.”

After former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke’s detailed judgment on Monday, she wore a small smile. “I am feeling all the dirt is coming out. If families didn’t fight, it would never come out.”

On a Monday in August 2016,  after Marie and her sons had visited Freddie at the home in Krugersdorp the previous day, her son, Freddie jnr, phoned to found out how he was.

He had been thin and didn’t want to eat.

“Oh, didn’t you know he had died?” staff at the home asked Colitz’s son a day after his death.

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