File photo: African News Agency (ANA).

CAPE TOWN - The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Friday announced it would take steps to execute a high court order against two unlicensed NGOs which benefited to the tune of R663,275 from the transfer of mentally ill patients from the Life Esidimeni centre to unlicenced NGOs, resulting in at least 144 patients dying.

The SIU said a high court ruled in their favour last month after they launched civil proceedings against the NGOs.

"The defendants (The Anchor Center for the Intellectually Disabled and Dorothy Evangeline Franks) applied delay tactics, however the matter was finally heard on 17 July 2019 for the payment of R663, 275.03 plus cost," a statement from the SIU said.

"Judgment was granted against the defendants to pay R663,275.03. The SIU will follow-up and ensure that the said money is recovered and paid back to the department."

The government agency which probes serious malpractices and maladministration relating to state institutions, state assets and public money, is also in the process of launching civil action against the owners of another nine NGOs. It aims to recover another R5 million from the NGOs

"The value of the pending civil litigation is R5,006,628.49. The SIU will follow-up to ensure that action is taken against the NGO’s and consequence management meted out against officials implicated."

The SIU said it would complete its investigation into the deaths of the mentally ill patients by November this year and submit its final report to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

African News Agency (ANA)