JOHANNESBURG - Twenty-eight Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients are still missing, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
"I have been informed by the police that a number of missing Life Esidimeni patients have been found and there are now 28 patients who have still not been located," DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom said.
"This follows the missing person cases that I laid with the police earlier this year. While I am pleased that the original list of 62 has been reduced to 28 patients, there is a decreasing chance of finding them all since they were discharged two years ago from Esidimeni to illegally registered NGOs," he said.
According to the list from the Gauteng health department that police had given to Bloom, 18 male and 10 female patients were missing, ranging in age from 27 to 79. In two cases the date of birth was given as 1900 and 1914, but this seemed to be a mistake.
"In three cases there isn’t even a name, including the description 'male child David', who was born in 1978. It is distressing that so many patients have still not been found, which highlights the fact that the Esidimeni tragedy is still not over," Bloom said.
At some stage they would have to be presumed dead as they could not survive long without proper care. Meanwhile, better progress was needed in laying criminal charges against all those responsible for the ill-treatment and deaths of the Esidimeni patients, he said.
According to media reports, at least 144 mentally ill patients died after the Gauteng health department moved about 1700 patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to unsuitable NGO and state facilities in 2016.
African News Agency/ANA