Shonisani Lethole Picture: Supplied
Shonisani Lethole Picture: Supplied

Shonisani Lethole’s mother responds as Tembisa Hospital CEO challenges health ombud’s report

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Jan 28, 2021

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Johannesburg - Shonisani Lethole’s family have welcomed the health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s report into the death of their son, which found he died as a result of gross negligence.

This comes as Dr Lekopane Mogaladi, the Tembisa Hospital’s chief executive, said they would be challenging the health ombudsman’s report on Thursday morning.

“We want to accord the family a chance of mourning. We are taking the matter on appeal. Discussing minute details might be violating the patients rights,” he told Newzroom Afrika.

In a scathing report, Makgoba found that their had been gross negligence at the hands of doctors, nurses and staff in providing duty of care to Lethole, who had spent a period of over 100 hours without food at the hospital.

Makgoba found that there were countless instances of inaction from doctors and nurses, which led to Lethole’s health deteriorating.

Responding to Mogaladi’s announcement that he would challenge the report, Patricia Lethole, Shonisani’s mother, said she was not surprised by the route the hospital CEO was taking.

The Health Ombud, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba briefs media on the findings of the investigations into the circumstances surrounding the care and death of Mr Shonisani Lethole at Tembisa Tertiary Hospital. The briefing is taking place at Ronnie Mamoepa Press Room, Tshedimosetso House (GCIS), in Pretoria. 27/012021. Ntswe Mokoena/GCIS.

“People with integrity step aside. It is not surprising. As a family, that man hurt us a lot.

“Even before the investigation report was released, he treated my son as a liar.

“When he says he will not step aside, I am not surprised. It is not about Shoni now, it is about saving the lives of other people. Shoni started a legacy with that tweet,” said Patricia.

Patricia called for the health ombuds recommendations to be implemented immediately, calling for the suspension of Mogaladi.

"I was so surprised to see how a hospital can be an enemy of truth,” said Patricia.

“We can fix this Tembisa Hospital, the only thing is that my son had to die for us to see this,” she said.

Patricia said the health ombud’s report brought closure to the family as they now finally knew exactly what happened, leading to Lethole’s death.

"With the publication of the ombudsman's report, we finally know how and when he died," she said.

"The ombud's recommendations must be implemented urgently" she said.

"My son died a lonely death without the basic care that we should be able to expect in our health care facilities," said Patricia.

She said problems at Tembisa Hospital were not new and she, along with community organisations under the banner of #FixTembisaHospitalNow, have made 10 demands which they call on to be implemented immediately.


Hospital CEO Dr Lekopane Mogaladi to be suspended and to face a disciplinary hearing and for the management and governance of the hospital to be improved.

For disciplinary hearings to be held against all senior medical staff who failed in their duties in providing the necessary basic care to Lethole during his stay and subsequent death at Tembisa Hospital.

For staff and hospital management to ensure they follow Covid-19 and critical care protocols and for them to maintain patient records, and to ensure they ensure families can speak to patients daily or provide daily updates to families.

Secure the resources to improve availability of Covid-19 PPE.

Work with the Gauteng Department of Health to improve Covid-19 track and trace systems.

Ensure that community-based Covid-19 primary health care support in Tembisa is strengthened with effective community screening, testing Covid-19 health information dissemination and other preventative measures.

Secure the resources to improve staffing, training, health equipment and infrastructure, by 30 April 2021.

Ensure that hospital management including staff at all levels are trained in promoting ethical leadership, so that they develop ethical courage to tell the truth.

Meet with the family and provide a progress report on the last day of each month until these changes have been implemented.

Publicly acknowledge the pain and suffering of other families who have had loved ones die at Tembisa hospital in circumstances that need clarity, where they received substandard care.


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