'Esidimeni patient raped in Takalani'

07 December 2017 - 07:13 By Katharine Child
Life Esidimeni. File photo
Life Esidimeni. File photo
Image: Google Photo

A patient was raped when patients from Life Esidimeni clinics were crammed into a home for disabled children, Section 27 advocate Adila Hassim said on Wednesday.

This emerged while he was cross-examining the suspended head of the Gauteng health department, Barney Selebano, at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings.

"There was one alleged rape at Takalani Home last year after the move," Hassim told Selebano, who replied that the move was "highly regrettable ... It's embarrassing, it's painful ... it is shameful."

Selebano signed off on an affidavit handed to the Johannesburg High Court saying that Takalani home, where the alleged rape took place, had "adequate facilities".

Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, who is heading the hearings, said: "[Takalani] was a death trap ... women were exposed to potential rape."

One of the Life Esidimeni patients who was moved to the Takalani home allegedly raped another Life Esidimeni patient.

Hassim said some male patients were on "last resort" medication to suppress their sexual urges.

Yet men and women were put together in some rooms in NGOs during the move.

Two patients also contracted typhoid at Takalani due to a lack of hygiene.

Selebano could not explain why he signed off on the affidavit in March, while he had privately expressed his concern about the move of vulnerable patients from Life Esidimeni clinics and care centres.

He suggested legal staff in the department told him to sign the affidavit and told him they had a "winnable case" against Section 27, which was trying to prevent the move from going ahead.

He might not have comprehended the affidavit, Selebano said.