ANC councillor and police general implicated in unlicensed premises for psychiatric patients

13 February 2017 - 13:16 By Katharine Child

A policewoman under investigation for racism and an ANC councillor used an NGO for domestic violence they were involved with to take patients from Life Esidimeni health centres. This is according to the Democratic Alliance's Gauteng spokesman on health‚ Jack Bloom.

Yet another life Esidimeni Psychatric patient dies. Nombulelo Mthembu was one of the patient transferred from the facility to another hospital without her families' consent.
Yet another life Esidimeni Psychatric patient dies. Nombulelo Mthembu was one of the patient transferred from the facility to another hospital without her families' consent.
Image: Facebook/Sediba sa Dikgang

The Rebafaneyi home is for victims of domestic violence but a presentation from the home that Bloom has accessed shows that they received more than 100 mentally ill patients. They then sent the patients onwards to two other NGOs.

Police Major-General Sandra Malebe-Themba is the executive chairman of this home.

  • More evidence Makhura ignored warnings on Esidimeni patients‚ DA claimsMore evidence is emerging that Gauteng Premier David Makhura ignored explicit warnings that the transfer of mental health patients from Life Healthcare Esidimeni would be a disaster that could result in deaths‚ Democratic Alliance health spokesman for the province Jack Bloom said on Sunday. 

Tshwane ANC councillor and former Gauteng MMC for sports and recreation Nosipho Makeke-Tyobeka is listed as a committee member of the home.

The home earned more than R270‚000 from R2‚700 for patients it was given a month.

It passed on the patients to NGOs in Hennops River and one in Phelindaba.

The Hennops river NGO was visited last year by a social worker dispatched by the Tshwane government and patients removed after a social worker said the place didn’t not follow any laws.

  • Makhura was told about EsidimeniOver a year ago, University of the Witwatersrand occupational therapy students wrote to state officials in desperation, warning about the impending disaster in Gauteng mental healthcare, but no one listened. 

Bloom says: "The NGO was investigated after complaints received by DA Councillor Kingsley Wakelin that people living there were jumping the fences and disturbing the neighborhood."

"Christopher Mogwarane‚ 56‚ was one of the patients transferred to Rebafenyi in Hennops River from Esidimeni and died there. According to his brother Lucas‚ he was not happy there and he did not appear to be getting proper nutrition and medication."

Bloom said "it is shocking that a senior ANC councillor and a police general are involved (with a) NGO with unlicensed premises in which one patient died‚ possibly from neglect".

The patients from Phelindaba NGO were removed in last month and sent to a hospital in Lenasia.

General Malebe-Themba resigned from the police in 2013 after a misconduct probe but was re-employed after acting commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane took office in 2015. She is currently facing a complaint of racism.

The health ombudsman‚ Malegapuru Makgoba‚ found none of the 27 NGOs that were visited had genuine licenses.

The Gauteng government has been visiting the NGOs and inspecting if they meet the required standards.

Makgoba urged authorities to remove all patients from NGOs.

- TMG Digital/The Times

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