Johannesburg – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has asked the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate if there were cases of psychiatric patients who had died in other provinces.
This followed the tragic loss of more than 100 psychiatric patients in Esidimeni, Gauteng.
Motsoaledi told Independent Media they wanted to get to the bottom of these cases across the country.
The expansion of the investigation into other provinces was part of the recommendations of the Health Ombud, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.
Motsoaledi said they would leave no stone unturned, and wanted to ensure every aspect was covered.
He said he had written to the SAHRC to begin investigations in other provinces.
SAHRC spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said on Sunday that they had started with the probes.
“The commission has taken this up and they’re looking forward to the investigation,” he said.
Brooks said it would be a national investigation and that they were working on the health ombud’s report.
Motsoaledi said they needed to ensure they fully implemented the recommendations of the health ombudsman.
This would cover all the facilities in the country.
The Department of Health did not want this tragedy to be repeated.
More than 10 senior officials in Gauteng are on suspension pending disciplinary action against them in the Esidimeni matter.
Makgoba said they had discovered more bodies and the number was now well over 100.
He said this could rise further.
These were not new deaths, but people who had not been found when the report came out.
Motsoaledi said they hoped the number would not be too high, but they would ensure every single patient was accounted for.