In 2016, 144 people with mental illness, lost their lives. They died in the care of the public health system, from neglect and starvation. They died at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them.

 

Their lives and stories matter. They are missed and loved by the families and friends left behind. Sadly the people responsible for this crime remain unpunished. Care for mental health care patients remain hopelessly inadequate. Our government continues to fail them and their families. At the same time, it is a story of the extraordinary tenacity of ordinary people, who worked tirelessly for two years to seek justice. It demonstrated the power of people in our country, to organise, fight back and hold government to account.

 

We must not forget. We must hold government to account so that mental health is not forgotten. We must remember to ensure it never happens again.

 

never again

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“We need everyone in this country to see and hear this story. We must put it out there so people understand what happened, how it happened and why. Or will we just forget and learn nothing? I lost my sister in the tragedy and some mornings I still can’t get up. It’s the manner in which she died that makes it so hard to bear. We all just want answers. We must continue to Speak Out."

Christine Nxumalo – Life Esidimeni Family Committee