Former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlungu on Monday morning arrived at Emoyeni Conference Centre in Parktown, Johannesburg, to face questions regarding her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
Today’s prayer at the hearing began thus: “[We are in a] place of pain, but also a place of hope for restoration in dignity. You are a God of life; even if lives have been lost, we invite your presence as the God of life. We plead with you that justice may flow.
“We ask that you restore our dignity, especially the dignity of the most vulnerable of society. Guide us with your presence, heal us with your presence, bring healing to your people.”
Mahlangu has apologised to the victims of the Esidimeni tragedy. Her testimony has been eagerly awaited as victims seek closure from the series of unfortunate events.
Mahlangu had previously stalled appearing at the hearings but eventually appeared today where she is giving evidence.
Advocate Lesego Mmusi from Duma Nokwe Attorneys, instructed by Lebo Raphiri from Raphiri Attorneys, informed retired deputy justice Dikgang Moseneke that he would be assisting Mahlangu with her evidence.
“[We were] instructed on Friday night to assist the former MEC to prepare her witness statement, and traversed a plethora of evidence documents,” Mmusi informed the hearing.
He said whereas Mahlangu’s legal team was not completely satisfied with the preparations for the hearing, they would nevertheless proceed.
“We also want to bring to your attention that there are certain documents that she [Mahlangu] requested from the evidence leader. Some of the information had not come to her attention or our attention, however, we are ready to proceed. These are the annexures we prepared.
“We got in touch with evidence leaders and met with Mr Mokachane, and took him through the process. Some material is being copied in the building, we will make it available to the legal team. We have prepared an unsigned statement for the evidence leader,” Mmusi added.
“For our comfort, we plead that as soon as [we have the] signed statement with necessary annexures, we will make these documents available,” Mmusi told Moseneke, and his request was granted.