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Five Esidimeni patients found

The New Age 2018-02-14 02:14:58
Family members of Esidimeni Life patients attend the arbitration in Parktown last month. Five missing Esidimeni patients have been found at the Mosego NGO in Krugersdorp. PICTURE: BONGIWE MCHUNU

THE Life Esidimeni Family Committee has welcomed the news that five patients who were previously on the list of those unaccounted for had been located but expressed concern that three of them were at an NGO where some patients had died.

Committee member Christine Nxumalo said while they were relieved that the patients were alive it was shocking that some former Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients were still at Mosego which was among the culpable NGOs. Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom yesterday said that police had located the five missing patients at the NGO.

“I have been informed by police that they have found five of the 62 patients listed as missing since they were discharged from Life Esidimeni in mid2016. “Three of these patients are at the Mosego Home in Krugersdorp, which the health ombudsman ordered closed after seven patients died there,” Bloom said.

The exact number of unaccounted for patients, however, remains unclear with Bloom reporting 62 while the department is saying 48 patients were still missing. Nxumalo said they were not aware of any former Life Esidimeni patients being kept at Mosego.

“We were only allowed to move former Life patients but couldn’t move others because of the appeal but we were not expecting to find any more Life patients at Mosego. “We are happy that these patients have been found but we are still very upset at the Mosego issue because a lot of patients actually died there and the fact that they were able to appeal the ombud’s ruling has always been a concern,” Nxumalo said.

Following the release of health ombudsman Prof Malegapuru Makgoba’s report into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of more than 100 patients, Mosego appealed his findings and the order that it be shut down. Last year, tribunal judge Bernard Ngoepe overturned Makgoba’s ruling, which found that patients died under unlawful circumstances at both the Mosego NGO in Klerksdorp and Takalani NGO in Soweto.

This after the two NGOs appealed Makgoba’s findings. Mosego remained open after it appealed Makgoba’s findings. A total of 144 patients died after they were moved from Life Esidimeni facilities into unlicensed and ill-equipped NGOs. The ombudsman found in his report that patients died from, among other factors, starvation, dehydration and hypothermia.