Health department says its on track with Esidimeni implementation

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Dr Aaron Motsoaledi Minister of Health addressing the Human Development ministerial Cluster Briefing held at Imbizo Media Centre.

PRETORIA - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says his department is on track with implementing Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba's recommendations as stated in his report on the Esidimeni tragedy.

Motsoaledi briefed the media in Pretoria on Tuesday.

At least 94 mentally-ill patients died when they were moved from the Life Esidimeni Centre to 27 unlicensed NGO's as part of a cost cutting measure.

FULL REPORT: 94 mentally ill patients died

The minister said as recommended by the ombudsman, the Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project has been stopped and they have commenced with ?preparations for the relocation of patients to appropriately equipped ?facilities. 

?Mostoaledi said they're also taking action against Gauteng Health Department staff mentioned in the report.

The Head of Department ?Dr. Ephraim Selebano, was placed on precautionary suspension last week; the Health Ombudsman recommended that disciplinary (DC) proceedings be instituted against him for gross misconduct and / or incompetence.

READ: DA welcomes suspension of Gauteng health department head

Motsoaledi said the process of disciplinary proceedings against Dr Makgabo ?Manamela for gross misconduct and / or incompetence, have already commenced and a letter of intent has been sent to ?her.

The department said in a statement that a letter will be written to the HPCSA (Health Professional Council of ?South Africa regarding Dr Ephraim (Barney) Selebano and to the SANC (South ?African Nursing Council) regarding Dr Manamela, reporting the findings against them with regard to ?professional and ethical conduct.

Corrective disciplinary action will also be taken against other members of the department these include a chief director, five deputy directors, the chairperson of the Mental Health Review Board and the CEO and Acting CEO of the Cullinan Care and ????? Rehabilitation Centre.

The minister said the prosecuting authority will have to decide if criminal action should be taken.


Motsoaledi said all 27 NGOs have been visited by a task team of 60 professionals and seven have since been closed. 

The minister said they're working to relocate the patients but since the closure of the Life Esidimeni Centre, the facility is no longer immediately available to accept the patients because for ± 9 months they have de-established their operations and they need time to prepare these facilities to their former condition.

I have been in contact with the CEO of Life Health for the whole (Tuesday) morning to discuss their state of readiness, Motsoaledi said. Life Esidimeni said they can take 75 patients within the next week and it needs about eight more weeks to prepare their facility to accommodate more patients.


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