The Life Esidimeni tragedy in numbers

17 October 2017 - 15:16 By Katharine Child
Life Esidimeni. File photo
Life Esidimeni. File photo
Image: Google Photo

The Life Esidimeni saga led to more than 118 people dying after they were discharged from Life Healthcare Esidimeni homes in May and June in 2016 and put in hospital or NGOs. By February 2017‚ 118 were dead. Another 23 died between February and September this year.

Below are the numbers that have emerged in hearings and tell stories of the tragedy. The numbers of the deceased do change after each person's testimony.

Part of the reason for the changing numbers is because when new staff in the Gauteng Department of Health took over to fix the mess‚ there were no records of what happened to patients. Acting Head of Gauteng Health Department Dr Ernest Kenoshi testified that creating new records and tracing where people were was very difficult.

11 The number of dead people represented by Section 27 that are not on the ombudsman's list of 118 dead who died by February last year. The deaths may have occurred‚ after the ombudsman's duty ended.

59 Untraced people discharged from Esidimeni‚ who are still drawing a SASSA disability or pension grant. It is not known if they are alive or dead‚ but reports have surfaced of NGOs drawing grants after patients had died.

1‚712 The final number of those moved from Esidimeni into hospitals‚ NGOs without a written transport plan.

532 The number of patients moved without identity documents meaning NGOs could not access the SASSA disability grants needed for the patients' upkeep. 2 months The period in which vulnerable chronically ill patients were moved on bakkies‚ in buses and ambulances into hospital and to NGOs without beds.

7 The number of unidentified dead bodies.

59 The number of patients who died that are represented by families that have come forward.

It is not known where families of the more than 59 other dead are.

55 The number of names Section 27 advocate Adila Hassim read out on Day 1 to give a face to the dead.

1 The number of horse stables converted into an 'NGO' for patients

5‚000 The number of patients in NGOs in the province‚ many which are not "suitable".

R112 The amount per day per ill patient the NGOs were supposed to receive.

3 weeks The time frame for the arbitration hearings in which families are bussed in‚ fed and senior lawyers paid to represent the state. It could be extended‚ next year.

17 The number of family members who will testify.

Unknown??? Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke‚ who is leading the hearings‚ has to decide what figure to award families of the dead. A court of law would not pay anything because negligence payouts are linked to loss of earnings and the deceased were not working.

"There is a quite a big debate to be had here. If you have no money whatsoever‚ do we just say sorry if you’re dead‚" he said at a media conference a month before the hearing.

7 The number of patients that died a month at Life Esidimeni homes that held about 2‚000 people.

35 The number of almost complete police dockets opened on deaths of patients. 70 The number of people who had not been at Life Esidimeni‚ but were moved from dodgy NGOs by the Gauteng department of health‚ as they were found in a bad state.

1 The number of butcheries converted into mortuaries.


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