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Sizwe liked dancing, Jeremiah enjoyed birthdays – advocate gives human face to forgotten Life Esidimeni victims 18:52 09/02...

6 days ago South Africa

Sizwe liked dancing, Jeremiah enjoyed birthdays – advocate gives human face to forgotten Life Esidimeni victims 18:52 09/02...

Sizwe liked dancing, Jeremiah enjoyed birthdays – advocate gives human face to forgotten Life Esidimeni victims
18:52 09/02/2018 Jeanette Chabalala and Jan Bornman
Johannesburg – Parents, siblings and children of the victims wept as Advocate Adila Hassim read out the names of 63 people who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Restoring their humanity, she put a human face to the forgotten. She started with a list containing details about deceased loved ones from family members who testified in the matter.

Here follows the list of testimonies that Section 27's Hassim read out in her closing response at the arbitration hearing in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Friday.

– Billy Maboe's father is Reverend Maboe. He described Billy as "always jolly" when he was at Life Esidimeni. When Reverend Maboe went to visit Billy at Bophelong and took him some food, Billy was so hungry that he licked the chip packet clean.

– Daniel Josiah was a beloved brother. He liked it when his sister Wilhemina spoke to him even though he couldn't answer her.

– Solly Mashego was a beloved brother. He carried his sister Phumzile on his back to school when she was young.

– Freddie Colitz liked sweets. He was a husband and a father.

– Masweet Kozwale was a beloved daughter and niece. She stopped talking when she was transferred to Takalani.

– Virginia Machpelah was a beloved mother and sister. When Virginia had to be admitted to Life Esidimeni, her daughter Shineez lived with Virginia's sister, Christine. Her death caused heartbreak to Shineez who passed away in October 2017 at the age of 21, days after the start of this arbitration.

– Sophia Molefe was a beloved daughter and sister. Sophia overdosed on her medication.

– Vuyo Nqgondwane was a loved son and brother with a broad smile. He liked to eat meat.

– Lucas Mogwerane described his brother, Christopher, as "a piece of me". Lucas showed the arbitrator a picture of Christopher at his son's wedding. Christopher died after he fell over in the bathroom in the middle of the night.

– Mothofela Leroabe was the youngest brother of Lesiba Legwabe. After a long search, he was found at Cullinan, with a broken ankle.

– Joseph Gumede was Ntombifuthi Dhladhla's older brother. He enjoyed spending Christmas and New Year with his family. When Joseph's body was found, it was riddled with worms.

– Christopher Makhoba was a loved younger brother. He died at Precious Angels in July. When his family went to collect his body, the undertaker had left it at the door for collection.

– Charity Ratsotso was a happy member of the family. His sister could not find him after the move and after a long search was told that he had died months earlier. His family collected his decomposed body.

– Deborah Phetla was a beloved daughter of Maria. Her post-mortem report found that there was plastic and brown paper in her stomach.

– Maureen Khunjwa was a beloved sister. She enjoyed the birthday parties her family would arrange for her. She wasted away at Takalani.

– Sizwe Hlatshwayo was always happy. He liked singing and dancing. Sizwe would have turned 30 during the arbitration.

– Raisibe Rahab Mangena was a proud mother of three. She took pride in her appearance and liked to dress up. When her son visited her at Takalani, he could not recognise her because she had lost so much weight. She passed away at the age of 57.

Clients whose testimony is contained in affidavits:

– Felicity Adams was the mother of Gabriel Adams. Felicity enjoyed spending Christmas and Easter with her son and ex-husband. Before she died, she was moved between several facilities.

– Diederik Johannes Botha insisted on changing his nickname from Dicky to Johan when he was younger. He died at Tshepong.

– Seitpati Janet Pilane was the mother of Edith Pilane. Her favourite drink was Tab, when they visited at Life Esidimeni. She became blind at Precious Angels.

– Joy Simamane was the beloved and outspoken sister of Jacob Simamane.

– Johannes Jacobus Janse van Rensburg was the father of Jo-Anne. He loved home-cooked pap and beef stew. Jo-Anne was informed 15 days after Johannes' death.

– Nicholas Jamnik was the beloved brother of Mariana Jamnik-Schmidt. He loved to read the newspaper.

– Johanna Tladi liked Chicken Licken, which her sister Sarah would always bring her when she visited. After she was moved to Takalani Home she is recorded as a suspected case of typhoid. However, her death is recorded as being due to natural causes.

– Christina Lale was the beloved aunt of Sophie Goitsemang Mahlatsi. Christina was found at CCRC, where she died.

– Charles Stewart was a huge source of support to his sister Yvonne Muhammad. He was very proud of his 2014 award for "World's Best Male Care User: for good behaviour and loving care" at Life Esidimeni.

– Siyabulela Roger Msimanga was the son of Lindiwe Portia Msimanga. He died of pulmonary tuberculosis and septicemia after being moved to Shamma House. He was only 33.

– Matsobane John Mahloko was a beloved brother of Juda and the uncle of Peter Mahloko. After he was moved to Mosego Home he slept in a room with two beds and five other users.

– Peter Mvundla was a loved family member. He liked fruit, Coca-Cola, bread and cigarettes. He died after being moved to Mosego home.

– Julian Petersen could not walk or speak. His family was distraught to find him disoriented, confused and unkempt at Precious Angels. He could no longer sit up straight and the staff tied him to his wheelchair.

– Jeremiah Modise enjoyed birthday parties. His family found his decomposed body in a hospital mortuary.

– Busisiwe Shabalala could not talk but she would laugh with her family. She died dirty at CCRC.

– Bheki Sithole was a beloved brother. He died at Siyabadinga. His body was bandaged and bruised. His family buried him without knowing what happened to him.

– Matlakala Elizabeth Motsoahae was the beloved mother of Maud. She had been transferred twice and died after the transfer to Precious Angels.

– Bernika Mokaneng was a beloved cousin. She couldn't talk but communicated with her eyes and gestures. She smiled a lot and loved holding children. Bernika indicated to her sister that she had been raped while at Takalani. She died after a few months at Takalani.

– Julia Tshawe was the mother of Rosy Tshabalala. Julia enjoyed the fruit that Rosy would take her. Julia was moved to Mosego Home, then to CCRC, then to Precious Angels and then to Kalafong Hospital where she died.

– Terence Chaba was the beloved nephew of Suzen Phoshoko. He was moved to Precious Angels. Suzen learned of Terence's death when they were called to a meeting at Pretoria West Hospital and Terence was referred to as "the late". He was 28.

– Pio Sibusiso Mthombeni was the brother of Stella Mofokeng. Sibusiso was deaf but all his siblings communicated with him in sign language. He was moved to Bophelong – where no one could use sign language.

– Emily Mthembu was the sister of Thammy Mthembu. She would not stop screaming when her family visited her at Anchor. She ate a six pack of yoghurt.

– Cindy van Rooyen was a beloved aunt and a sister of Vaughan van Rooyen. She died after her move to Takalani.

– Mameisi Sina Mosalo was the mother of Vinolia Mosalo. She loved doing beadwork. She was moved to Tshepong with only a nightdress.

– Thembisile Lillian Dlamini was Vusumuzi Dladla's sister. She was close to all her siblings. Her brother saw her body with blood in the nose and mouth.

– Joseph Golden was the stepson of Winnie Golden. The family could not find Joseph after he was moved. They eventually found Joseph at Kalafong. By the time the family arrived Joseph had died of Hypoglycemia.

– Jabulane Mnisi was the beloved son of Yamie Miriam Mnisi. Jabulane was moved without his mother being informed. He died at Tshepong without having seen his family.

– Caswell Mosiane was the beloved son of Yvonne Mosiane. Caswell was moved to Takalani following the March 2016 litigation. He was only in Takalani for a month before he died.

– Mangana Eric Mashiloane was the father of Zenzele Mazibuko. He would make up stories, for example, that he was a millionaire.

– Motshabisi Michael Tlholwe was the brother of Ike and Andrew Tlholwe and the father of Baatseba Tlholwe. Michael died after being moved to Shammah House.

– Josephina Mhlongo was the beloved mother of Fortunate Mkhabela. Her daughter found her at Thuli Home wearing a thin dress and sitting outside during winter.

– Frans Dekker was the brother of Magdelena de Lange. His sister found him with a broken ankle at Tshepong.

– Moegammad Adiel Shariff was the nephew of Rudaiba Jones. He was moved from one NGO to another before he absconded. He was only 21 when he died.

– Isaac Tholoana was a beloved brother and a brother-in-law of Paulinah Tholoana. He was moved to Shammah House without his family being informed.

– Jean Rontoetsa was the beloved mother of Joyce Rontoetsa. She died without her mother knowing where she had been moved to.

– Sedumedi Solomon Moatshe was the brother of Kefalotse. When his brother visited his brother at Mosegao Home, he found that Sedumedi had been burnt from the waist down by hot bath water.

– Maria Maretele was the sister of Daniel and sister-in-law of Lydia Maretele. She was a mother of Thabang Maretele. She died after being moved to Takalani.

– Nellie Du Toit loved biltong. Her sister Bertha said that Nellie was a kind, gentle and happy person. She started crying as soon as she saw her family after she was moved and was in a wheelchair for the first time.

– Dawid Senekal was a father and a grandfather. When his daughter Desiree went to visit him he loved to play with his grandson. He died after being moved to Mosego home.

– Frederick Nelson was a beloved brother of Abram and saw his family every week. He died after being moved to Tshepong.

– Mehmona Dubree was a beloved grandchild. She died on Christmas Eve.

– Happy Makhubela was a happy and beloved son and brother. His family did not get to see him before he died.

– Ntswelengwe Mokgethi had a very big appetite and he loved his family.

– Lindiwe Msimanga was heartbroken by the death of her son, Siyabulela. She was a single parent. Siyabulela died at the age of 33, within three months of being transferred to Shamma House.

– Alfred Sithole was a beloved nephew. He used to complain to his aunt Elizabeth that he was being served rotten food at Thuli Home.

– Siphiwe Thabethe was much loved by his two sisters and enjoyed their home-cooked food. Siphiwe passed away at Precious Angels at the age of 41.


Parents, siblings and children of the victims wept as Advocate Adila Hassim read out the names of 63 people who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

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