Zuma authorises Special Investigating Unit probe into Life Esidimeni tragedy
President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday authorised the Special Investigating Unit to probe the Gauteng Health Department following the deaths of over 100 psychiatric patients who were moved from Life Esidimeni to various unlicensed non-profit organisations.
This comes five months after an explosive report from the Health Ombudsman‚ Malegapuru Makgoba‚ which stated that many of the patients died because they were not well after being transferred from Life Esidimeni.
Some died from the cold‚ others starvation and dehydration while others suffered from TB‚ hypertension and jaundice.
The investigators would seek to clarify a number of issues‚ including whether any unlawful activities stemmed from the arrangement to move the patients from Life Esidimeni.
Alleged maladministration by the department and any “irregular or unapproved acquisitive act‚ transaction‚ measure or practice having a bearing upon State property” would also be probed.
In his report‚ Makgoba had recommended that all the NGOs that looked after patients be shut down and that police investigate the patients’ deaths.
Families of some of the victims held a media conference earlier this month‚ where they indicated that they had still not received the results of post mortems on some of their deceased relatives.
Meanwhile‚ Section 27 at the time said all of the 800 or so patients‚ except for 29‚ had been moved from NGOs back into Life Esidimeni homes.
The remaining patients in unlicensed NGOs have family members who refuse to have them moved as the patients are stable and they do not want the move to destabilise them.