Life Esidimeni Arbitration

How much is the life of a destitute or jobless person worth? This is the question the arbitration process for families of psychiatric patients who died in the Life Esidimeni saga, will seek to address. Retired chief justice Dikgang Moseneke is presiding over arbitration hearings for families who lost relatives when they were moved from Life Esidimeni homes into illegal and ill-equipped nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). Many of the 100 or so patients died needlessly of pneumonia‚ starvation and neglect. According to the law, compensation paid if a person suffers injury‚ death or disability due to negligence is usually limited to loss of earnings or the cost of future medical care. So if a jobless person loses the ability to work through death‚ their family does not have legal claim for damages. Moseneke said this was the case‚ but in this hearing he would seek to decide what a life was worth 'in a country were half of people were not earning [a salary]'.