Ethel Ncube, the founder of Precious Angels NGO. Picture: Khanyisile Ngcobo/IOL
Johannesburg - The living conditions of 58 mentally ill patients housed at a Pretoria NGO came under the spotlight during the second day of the Life Esidimeni alternative dispute resolution hearing on Tuesday.

The hearing, in its second week, convened last week in front of retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke in order to provide clarity as to what led to the deaths of over 100 patients last year after abrupt closure of the Life Esidimeni hospital.

The arbitration is expected to take up to three weeks and is being led by Moseneke at the Emoyeni Conference Centre in Parktown, Joburg.

Earlier, a social worker based at the Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre testified on the transfer of patients from the centre to the various NGOs. 


Daphney Ndhlovu denied there were any food and water shortages at the centre.

Next up was Precious Angels founder Ethel Ncube, who spoke on the living conditions of patients the NGO housed.

23 patients died at the NGO following their move from Esidimeni.

She explained that instead of operating from Kalafong, the NGO's supposed location, residential homes had to be sourced to temporarily house the incoming patients.

This, she partly blamed on the urgency by the Gauteng Department of Health to move the patients from Esidimeni.

"We didn't operate at Kalafong as we were supposed because. it was under renovations and was unsuitable to house patients.

" [Also] because of the urgency... we then began sourcing residential houses. I then went to a family member to assist us for a few months."


The double-storey house provided, believed to be an eight bedroomed house, was then converted to accommodate 37 patients.

Ncube explained that the bigger rooms were able to house 6-7 patients while the smaller ones had around 3 patients.

Despite this, she denied claims the living conditions were cramped or that patients experienced shortages.


Ncube also revealed her struggle to receive assistance from the Gauteng Health department, saying she went without payment for close to three months. 

"Bedding and linen we had to source from friends and family. food I got from my social club and donations.

"I also had to take loans from family and friends... since the department did not give the support they were supposed to."

The hearing continues.  

IOL