NGO reported for threatening relative of former Esidimeni patient

File: Mike Thlolwe died two weeks ago at Shammah House in Cullinan, having been referred there from Life Esidimeni last year. Photo: Gallo / Jabu Kumalo

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has reported an NGO for threatening to take legal action against a man who complained that his 60-year-old mentally ill brother died in the organisation's care allegedly because of “poor treatment”.

DA MPL Jack Bloom said: “I am appalled that the Shammah House NGO has threatened the brother of a deceased mental health patient who was sent there from Life Esidimeni last year”.

The patient, Mike Thlolwe, died two weeks ago at Shammah House in Cullinan, east of Pretoria, shortly before an ambulance was to take him to the hospital.

READ: Esidimeni tragedy: Families to hold healing session

Bloom said that a law firm representing Shammah House had sent a letter to the deceased’s brother, Ike Thlolwe, threatening him with legal action if he did not retract public statements blaming the NGO for poor treatment of his brother.

Part of the letter read: “Our instructions are that our client attended to your brother’s health and welfare according to best practice and followed every relevant protocol …

"Our client reserves its rights to take any legal action should they become aware of any untrue, unfounded or defamatory statements or insinuations in respect of their conduct.”

Bloom said Shammah House was acting in a highly inappropriate and insensitive manner. “I have reported this to Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa and requested her to intervene to resolve this matter.”

Neither Shammah House nor the Gauteng health department could be immediately reached for comment.


African News Agency

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