Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke lashed out at former top officials of the Gauteng health department on Monday, saying that those entrusted with the lives of vulnerable patients had skirted their responsibilities, resulting in the deaths of at least 144 psychiatric patients. Moseneke, who was presenting the outcome of an arbitration hearing he had chaired, said the tragedy was a "harrowing account" of death, torture and abuse. He then read out the names of the victims. Altogether 44 patients are still unaccounted for and have been described as missing persons. The state has conceded that the deaths were unnatural. Moseneke ordered the government to pay each claimant R1.2m within the next three months. The money must be paid in a lump sum and includes R20,000 for funeral costs, R180,000 for damages under common law, while R1m was granted for the constitutional damages suffered by the claimants. However, Moseneke left the door open to possible claimants who did not form p...

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