JOHANNESBURG – The Gauteng health department has still not identified seven Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients who died after being moved to unlicensed NGOs.
National health director-general, Malebona Precious Matsoso said: “After interviewing the families, one family member told me that she was directed to a butchery to find their loved one.”
Matsotso continued her testimony on day four of the Esidimeni arbitration hearings.
She's been applauded for reacting quickly and for working around the clock, investigating the circumstances into the deaths of 118 psychiatric patients in Gauteng.
“One of the facilities in Pretoria we found used to be a horse stable...” she said.
Matsotso told the hearings that many of the NGO's she visited were not suitable to house psychiatric patients.
She's also testified that every stage of this project sparked many questions about the evident negligence and lack of care.
Matsoso told retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and the nation that one of the mortuaries where some of the bodies were kept didn't have adequate facilities.
“My hope is that this was not treated as a business project, because that is not what healthcare is about...one of the owners I spoke to described this as an enterprise.”
When asked about the role of the former Gauteng Health MEC in the Esidimeni tragedy, Matsotso responded said she believes Qedani Mahlangu should come before the arbitration hearings to take accountability and provide much needed answers.