25 May 2017
Gauteng police cannot give a date when investigations will be finalised concerning the deaths of more than 100 mental health patients transferred last year from Esidimeni to unsuitable NGOs.
According to a written reply by Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, police are conducting 22 inquests but have been delayed by difficulties in identifying bodies.
The inquests have been lodged at the following police stations, which are all in Tshwane, related to where the deaths occurred:
Atteridgeville – 5 cases
Pretoria West – 4 cases
Pretoria Central – 3 cases
Cullinan – 10 cases
The Randfontein police are investigating murder, culpable homicide and corruption charges against former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu which were laid by ANC Gauteng Youth League Chairperson Matome Chiloane, EFF MPL Mandisa Mashego and myself.
According to Nkosi-Malobane, the following is outstanding for all inquest dockets:
– the total number of deceased persons
– the addresses and particulars of NGOs
– the statement of the authority person who approved the transfer of patients to the NGO
– the chain statements on the handling of the deceased from Precious Angel to Kalafong Hospital
– the chain statements on the handling of the body from Kalafong Hospital to the pathologist
– photographs taken during the post mortem examinations
– medical records kept by Precious Angels
– medical records of the deceased from Life Esidimeni
– hospital records from Kalafong
– statements from families of the deceased
– statements from the relevant person from the Department of Health
– statements from the owner of Precious Angels
I am concerned that easily obtainable information like the addresses of NGOs has still not been obtained by the police who don’t even know exactly how many people died.
It seems that inquests are only being done into deaths at the Tshwane-based NGOs, but many deaths took place in other parts of Gauteng. Why are these other deaths not being investigated as well?
Police incompetence should not delay justice in bringing to account all those implicated in the deaths.
National Police Minister Fikile Mbalula should ensure that top detectives are used to speed up the investigation which is unacceptably slow.