JOHANNESBURG - The police need to speed up the investigation into the 144 recorded Life Esidimeni deaths, including information from post-mortems that will provide indisputable evidence to obtain convictions of those responsible, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
"This is my conclusion following my visit last week with Dr Neil Campbell MPL to the Mosego Home, as we were confronted with contradictory information about the cause of the seven deaths there of Esidimeni patients," DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom said.
Mosego manager Maletsatsi Mokgojoa strenuously denied that the patients had died of neglect and lack of food, as claimed by relatives, he said.
This NGO took 63 patients from Life Esidimeni in mid-2016, and an inspection by the health ombudsman’s office found that they were housed in unsuitable conditions which could have caused the deaths of seven of them. An additional irregularity was that the Takalani Home in Soweto was registered and managed under Mosego’s licence, which was also issued illegally, Bloom said.
"According to evidence at the Esidimeni arbitration hearings, there were many deaths at Takalani as well as cases of typhoid and an alleged rape."
Both Mosego and Takalani were still operating because they won an appeal against closure at a tribunal headed by Judge Bernard Ngoepe, and they had subsequently complied with the requirements for licensing.
"My observation is that there are now reasonable living conditions for the 90 residents at Mosego, including three former Esidimeni patients who were sent there prior to the mass transfers in 2016 who were inexplicably listed as missing before they were found by the police.
"But the Mosego directors still need to be accountable for the seven Esidimeni deaths that occurred at their facility. This highlights the need for the police to get proper evidence in bringing charges against those in charge at all the NGOs where patients died," Bloom said.
African News Agency/ANA