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Johannesburg - The Magaliesburg drug rehabilitation health centre in Gauteng, that was operating illegally has been shut down after its registration expired last year January, the Gauteng department of social development said on Friday.

Gauteng Social Development member of the executive council (MEC) Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said 40-year-old Mahomed Shaik Sulaiman was assaulted in the rehab and later died in hospital and they also found that the procedures that were followed leading to the patient’s death were flawed. 

"This centre was also found to be ill-equipped to operate as an in-patient treatment centre in terms of the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act. Sulaiman should not have died seeking help from substance abuse and that the centre failed him," said Mayathula-Khoza.

“The deceased was not admitted procedurally and there was no proper medical assessment before admission. He was not admitted at a detoxification unit to manage withdrawals. The aggression of the deceased might have been aggravated by withdrawals as they were not managed medically," she said.

"There was no professional staff on duty when the incident happened and it appears as though the deceased didn’t receive medical attention immediately. There were no incident reports on the file and the centre does not even have an incident register.” 

She said the department has begun a process of shutting it down. The centre should not admit any service users until they are duly registered in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act. Current service users are to complete the programme and be discharged.

“It is really said that a resident lost his life whilst trying to find help. Of course, government alone can never win the war on drugs working alone, as we encourage civil society to join us by establishing such centres, it is imperative that the law is observed. I wish to appeals to all Treatment Centres, Halfway houses, Outpatient and Community Based Services to comply with the provisions of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act 70 of 2008 and the regulations to prevent such unfortunate incidents," Mayathula-Khoza said. 

"Section 19 (13) of the said Act stipulates that a person who contravenes or fails to comply with this section, or any condition imposed there under, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to both a fine and such imprisonment.”

Mayathula-Khoza urged the families not to send their loved ones to the illegal treatment centres for treatment of substance use disorder and she said the department was embarking on a process of closing down all illegal centres.

African News Agency (ANA)