The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in Gauteng has denied claims by the Gauteng Department of Health that a settlement was reached with the family of a pensioner who was shackled to a hospital bench

SAHRC Gauteng chairperson Buang Jones told News24 no out-of-court settlement had been reached with the family of Martha Marais, 76.

On Tuesday, the department’s spokesperson, Philani Mhlungu, said a settlement had been reached with her family and the case was finalised.

A video clip of the pensioner, who was tied to a steel bench at Mamelodi Hospital earlier this year, caused outrage after going viral.

On Tuesday, Mhlungu claimed the mediation process between the SAHRC and Marais family had been finalised and a settlement was reached.

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He added the mediation process had begun on 20 September.

Hours later, Jones tweeted that no settlement had been reached between the family and department.

“We have not reached any settlement. The mediation session is not finalised and it is still being facilitated by a retired judge. We are disappointed by the department for going public that a settlement has been reached, which is not correct,” he said.

“We have written to the head of the department, whether what was said earlier was a statement from the department. As lawyers acting on behalf of the family, they find the statement by the department hurtful, especially noting that the case has not been finalised,” added Jones.

When contacted, Mhlungu requested that questions be sent to him before he could confirm or deny his earlier statement.

At the time of publishing, he had not responded.

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