Another potential Life Esidimeni with one special needs patient still missing from Kairos Centre

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is appalled to learn about the terrible living conditions at the Kairos Centre in Cullinan, Tshwane, where patients with special needs are being neglected, with monitoring of whether they are taking their medication, and rooms being left in a filthy state. The centre is also plagued with the leaking of raw sewerage.

These terrible living conditions were revealed after one of the mentally impaired patients, Shane Jordaan (30) went missing earlier this month.

According to the mother of the missing patient, the centre never bothered to inform her that her son had gone missing and only learnt of her son’s disappearance from the police five days later.

It is cruel and unacceptable for Kairos Centre to not inform parents or guardians immediately after the disappearance of their child, spouse, or relative.

Jordaan’s mother was further informed by the police that the conditions of the room her son and other male patients shared was left filthy, with unused medicine all over the floor, and blood and semen on the bedding.

Jordaan’s mother states that she was never allowed to go inside her son’s room – a clear indication that the centre was hiding something. Whenever her son came home to visit, he was often drugged and unable to engage coherently with the family.

Furthermore, the Cullinan CPF states that while searching for the missing patient, they found 20kg of discarded medication inside a black plastic container right next to the centre. The CPF also confirmed that the police were refused entry inside the premises but after legal action was threatened, the dog unit was granted admission.

Kairos Centre is an NGO that is licensed in terms of the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 as an adult psychiatry residential care facility for both females and males, as well as a residential care facility for geriatric patients. It is deeply worrying that this facility is failing to ensure the safety and security of its patients, especially considering it is funded by public money through the Gauteng Department of Health and looks after 125 patients.

The DA has already informed the Gauteng MEC for Health, Nomathemba Mokgethi about the circumstances of this centre and requested an urgent and immediate investigation into conditions, and the lack of security that provided the opportunity for Shane Jordaan to disappear.

The Health Department has a responsibility to conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of all the centres that are funded by the state to ensure that vulnerable people are taken care of and receive the best care that they deserve. It is evident that they have failed miserably in this regard, with patients not being given the treatment and care they are entitled to.

The disappearance of Shane Jordaan immediately brings up memories of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, where 144 patients died due to the provincial Department of Health’s negligence.

The DA will continue to hound MEC Mokgethi to ensure an investigation is conducted, and will further request the reasons as to why the department did not know of the conditions at Kairos Centre. This is not a matter that the DA will allow to be swept under the rug, and the department will need to come clean about this case of negligence on their part.

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