Judge Moseneke vowed to donate his arbitration fees to law schools around the country to fund disadvantaged law students, and has ordered that a monument be erected in honour of the 144 mental health patients who died in the disastrous project.
Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke who arbitrated over the much publicised Life Esidimeni Arbitration, has pledged to donate all of his arbitration fees.
He said: “[I] will donate all my arbitrators’ fees to law schools that will help nurture young women and men committed to defending the vulnerable against the abuse of the high and mighty.”
In a ringing indictment of the Life Esidimeni Marathon Project, DCJ Moseneke stated that the “terrible tale of death and torture” constituted a very serious breach of the Constitution and occurred as a result of an abuse of power by servants of the State. He found that the right to human dignity, the founding values of the Constitution and the principles governing public administration, the right to family life and the right to access to quality health care services were grossly violated.
He also stated that there was “irregular expenditure, mismanagement, incompetence and possible fraud in the Gauteng Department of Health.”
In his order, DCJ Moseneke accepted the agreement between parties of R200,000 for common law damages, namely funeral expenses (R20,000) and for shock and psychological damages (180,000). The parties had also agreed to have a place of remembrance for the victims of the Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project, and counselling for bereaved family members.
Crucially, DCJ Moseneke also awarded R1 million for all claimants for Constitutional damages.
The Award is the culmination of a two-and-a-half-year long process of engagement and contestation with the State in an attempt to guarantee the fundamental human rights of Mental Health Care Users. The arbitration process, which was set up in order to provide information, redress and closure to the affected mental health care users and their families has lent dignity to the mental health care users and their families.
Section 27, a catalyst for social justice have stated that this is a major step towards a new culture of accountability in the civil service, as highlighted by the rigorous cross examination of 12 senior civil servants.