File Image: IOL
The mother of a Life Esidimeni psychiatric patient is disappointed in the Gauteng provincial department for delaying her payout.

Thandi Letswana said her daughter, Princess Mlotshwa, was moved from Life Esidimeni in Randfontein to an ill-equipped NGO in Orange Farm. She said she found her in a bad state and decided to remove her immediately from the NGO.

“I found the place being renovated and there was no name of the NGO on the gate. The patients, both young and elderly women, were sitting outside and it was very cold. They had no warm clothes. When I asked the owner why, he could not answer me. He just said all their clothes were missing as well as their identity documents and Sassa cards,” she said.

Letswana said she put in a claim at the GP provincial department in November last year. Last Monday she went to follow up because it had been more than five months since she had received any correspondence regarding her application. She was told to reapply.

“I thought my application was being processed all along, but I was disappointed when I was told that I have to reapply.”

When the Sunday Independent visited Letswana at her mother’s home in Vaal she said she had moved from her place in Vosloorus because her husband was abusive towards her and her mentally ill child.

Last year the Gauteng acting director for Mental Health, Dr Kobus Marais, said Mlotshwa was one of the missing patients of the marathon project. Marais said 62 of the 100 patients who went missing were found with their families.

When asked why Letswana’s application was not processed the first time round, Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said: “I am not in a position to discuss personal matters related to claimants. All claims are subjected to verification to establish authenticity of the claims and the proximity of the relationship between the claimants and the mental health-care user on whose behalf the claim is being made.”

The Life Esidimeni Alternative Dispute Resolution led by retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke ruled that the families be paid about R1.2million each in damages less R20000 for burial costs.