Esidimeni Death Toll Rises

I have been informed of another death of a patient transferred from Life Esidimeni to the Shammah NGO based in Cullinan.

According tohis brother, he died this week and was in an emaciated condition.

This gives urgency to the need to close down the dodgy NGOs and transfer the patients to decent facilities as recommended by the Health Ombudsman in his report on 94 previously identified deaths.

Delays in transferring patients should not add to the immense tragedy of avoidable deaths in this whole sorry saga.

The final death count is likely to be well over a hundred as Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi noted yesterday that there were 19 unidentified bodies in mortuaries from NGOs where Esidimeni patients were transferred.

I welcome Motsoaledi’s announcement that 22 of the 27 NGOs will be closed based on the assessments of the expert team that he has assembled in this matter.

He also said that seven facilities had already been closed down, including the two Rebafenyi facilities associated with Police Major-General Sandra Malebe-Themba and Tshwane ANC councillor Nosipho Makeke-Tyobeka.

I think it is good that the private health sector will also be used for the patients, including the re-opening of Life Esidimeni facilities in a phased manner. This is necessary because existing state facilities are already over-crowded.

Another positive is the Minister’s commitment to involve the families in approving the appointment of a prominent person to lead the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process as recommended by the Health Ombudsman for healing and redress.

The DA will monitor the implementation of the Ombud’s recommendations which need to be completed within the 45 day deadline.

It is important that the public is kept informed of all steps taken in this tragic matter, including criminal charges that should be laid against all those implicated.



Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222