Esidimeni NGO unlawfully keeping patients’ Sassa cards

19 October 2017 - 15:40
By Katharine Child
Image: POWER987 News via Twitter

Dianne Noyile‚ who ran an unlicensed NGO for mentally disabled adults‚ has admitted she still has the Sassa grant cards of 14 vulnerable patients‚ who are no longer in her care.

Noyile was testifying in the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings that aim to give closure to why 141 mentally ill patients died‚ when moved from proper psychiatric homes into NGOs.

Noyile ran the Siyabadinga NGO and looked after 73-mentally disabled and physically disabled patients. Her NGO‚ set up in May 2016‚ was without money‚ used two junior nurses and relied on food donations‚ she admitted.

When Life Esidimeni patients were moved into the Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre‚ the patients living at the Cullinan centre were displaced and moved to Siyabadinga.

After only being open for two months‚ Noyile's NGO was shut down last July by the Gauteng health department.

Noyile‚ who is a pastor‚ admitted under cross examination that still has the Sassa grant cards of 14 patients who are alive.

This means they can't get their disability grants. She claims she doesn’t draw the money.

She has held the cards due to a dispute with the Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre‚ because it took patients' clothing donations from her NGO‚ when it was shut down.

In total‚ nine patients who had stayed with her died‚ although some passed away a few months after leaving Siyabadinga.

Hearing Judge‚ former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke‚ told her that patients died in her care under "very clearly negligent and unlawful circumstances" hinting she could be charged with murder.

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Moseneke has spoken about criminal consequences "with a bee in his bonnet " to each Esidimeni witness. No one has yet been criminally charged in the tragedy.

Noyile admitted she was operating under an incorrect licence for her NGO and none of her staff were trained to deal with mentally ill or disabled people.

Moseneke told her: "You didn't have anything that patients needed‚ except you and your love‚ as you say."

Moseneke added: "And now people have died in negligent circumstances‚ where you were in charge.

"Do you know what the law says about causing the death of another unlawfully or negligently or intentionally? The law does not allow anyone to kill another‚ negligently or intentionally‚" he told her.

"It starts with the Bible: thou shall not kill".

Noyile answered: "It pains me personally that people lost their lives. I never woke up and said: ’I am going to massacre people.’

"My wrongdoing was that I had love for people‚ but things were not put in place [in the NGO]."