Where are the missing 59 Esidimeni patients?

I have been following the Esidimeni arbitration hearings with dismay and sadness at what was endured by those who died and the unresolved suffering of relatives.

My concern is that no new information has come to light about the 59 untraced people who were discharged from Life Esidimeni‚ and are still drawing pension or disability grants.

This was revealed by Precious Matsodo, Director General of the National Department of Health, when she testified on 12 October.

They could be alive in good or bad circumstances, or they could be dead and NGOs and others could be using their money‚ without reporting them as deceased.

Matsodo also said that there were seven corpses that have not been identified and their families traced.

How can it be that there are still so many untraced and unidentified patients who were discharged from Esidimeni last year?

The Gauteng Health Department has been silent on what it is doing to trace and identify these patients.

We need to know what the Department is doing so that all the 1712 discharged Esidimeni patients are accounted for.

Simon Mofokeng’s guest house still guarded by municipal security

Disgraced former Emfuleni Local Municipality Mayor, Simon Mofokeng’s private guest house in Vanderbijlpark is still being guarded by municipal security officers, despite the DA’s calls for their removal earlier this year.

The DA is in possession of a document which stipulates the amounts paid for security per month at various station points in the municipality.

According to the document, “Mayor’s Additions” is stipulated in the fine print for additional security personnel.

More than four security personnel have been stationed outside his guest house. The DA obtained this information following a written reply to questions posed in the provincial Legislature.

Former Mayor Mofokeng and his cronies have taken enough from the poorest residents in Emfuleni.

This R1 million could have been used to aid the municipality in covering its debt to Rand Water, servicing parks and recreation facilities for the youth or ensuring the municipality keeps the lights on.

The municipality deserves a responsive government willing to address the myriad of issues facing the local council.

Under the new leadership of ANC Mayor Jacob Khawe, in his first 120 days he would do well to investigate these security costs and their use for private services by Mofokeng.

Simon Mofokeng’s resignation does not exonerate him from eating the people of Emfuleni’s money. He cannot continue to live the high-life while many suffer and lack basic services.

Should he be found to have personally requested municipal security personnel to be stationed outside his guest house, he must pay back the money to the municipality.

The DA will be closely monitoring developments in this regard, and at all costs, ensure that Emfuleni’s municipal budget goes to improving the lives of residents not just “securing” the safety of one man.

SAPS not doing enough to protect women and children

There is a serious deficiency in the South African Police Service’s (SAPS’s) approach to dealing with the protection of women and children against all forms of abuse.

The most vulnerable members of society which includes, women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and LGBT’s safety is under threat.

I recently visited Etwatwa police station in Ekurhuleni, and found the attitude of the police officers disdainful and not helpful to the public.

The section where cases are opened is very small with no privacy to deal with domestic violence and sexual offence cases.

The police officer dealing with the registrars for domestic violence, rape and protection orders was on leave and I was informed that nobody else could assist us.

We waited for hours, being sent from one police officer to another, when we eventually left without assistance.

This is totally unacceptable as these services are crucial to the public. There should be a police officer assisting in absence of another.

There have been no arrests relating to the 54 rape cases reported in the past 6 months at Etwatwa police station.

This indicates that the police are not doing enough to ensure the safety of our people, as an alleged serial rapist is still on the streets on the prowl for more victims.

As we mark the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children, we call upon Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and the Gauteng SAPS Provincial Commissioner, General Deliwe De Lange to intervene and ensure that SAPS works around the clock to arrest the alleged serial rapist and address the attitude of SAPS officers towards the public.

The DA will continue to do all it can to ensure that women and children are treated with dignity and are protected against all forms of violence.