never again

1 Christine Nxumalo her sister Virginia Machpelah

Heidi Jogiat & her late mother Phoebe Soudom

Still under investigation

This picture captures a rare moment. Heidi with her mother. Phoebe Soudom suffered from bipolar disorder and was always in and out of hospital. The rest of the time Heidi lived with her grandmother.

Finally in 2008 Heidi’s mom was admitted to Life Esidimeni in Witpoort.
“My mother loved it there,” Heidi remembers.

In September 2015, without telling Heidi, her mom was moved to Baneng. Every time Heidi visited her mom there, she seemed worse and got thinner and thinner.

Then on Saturday 5 December, Heidi was on her way to visit her mother. Her brother called at 12:50 saying he was at Baneng already and had tried to go to the ward. But they wouldn’t let him in.

“I just knew something was wrong,” said Heidi.

Twenty minutes later, while Heidi was still stuck in traffic, her aunt called. She was crying. They had found her mother. She was dead.

When she arrived at Baneng, Heidi rushed to the ward and found her mother lying on a bed. She had cuts and sores on her body and marks around her neck. No one would tell her what had happened.

Eventually the police opened a case number.

Phoebe Soudom’s death certificate states the cause of death as ‘under investigation’. That is still the case today. “I believe that negligence on the part of the Gauteng Department of Health led to my mother’s death. There needs to be a proper investigation into the death of my mother.”