Motsoaledi updates Parliament on Esidimeni tragedy

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Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has closed down 14 of the 27 NGOs in which over 100 Life Esidemeni psychiatric patients died and has relocated all but 23 of the patients moved into these facilities.

Providing an update during his budget debate on the implementation of the recommendations made by the health ombudsperson following an investigation into the deaths of over 100 mentally ill patients in Gauteng‚ Motsoaledi detailed how his department had acted in the wake of the tragedy, reports TimesLive.

He said patients had been removed from 20 of the 27 NGOs identified in the NGO report. 14 of the 20 had been closed down‚ while six remained open because he said‚ they dealt with business other than Life Esidemeni business.

Five more mental health patients have died since the release of the Health Ombudsman report
Patients had remained in the other seven facilities either because the families did not want to move their loved ones‚ or because the patients had not wanted to be moved.

Motsoaledi said 391 patients had been moved to hospitals‚ 398 had been moved back to Life Esidemeni and 461 had been moved to Weskoppies‚ Sterkfontein and other facilities. Nine had been moved to general hospitals while 23 had not yet been relocated – 19 because their families refused to move them‚ and four who did not want to get into ambulances to be moved.

Motsoaledi said SAPS had started their investigations into who should be held accountable‚ and this week‚ the National Prosecuting Authority had requested the case files as they prepare for the official inquests into each death.

A “very prominent retired judge” had also been identified in order to lead the dispute resolution process between the families and the government‚ while a tribunal had also been appointed‚ headed up by Judge Bernard Ngoepe to hear the appeal cases of those who felt aggrieved by the ombud findings.

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