never again

Lindiwe Msimanga & her late son Siyabulela Roger Msimanga

Lindiwe Msimanga & her late son Siyabulela Roger Msimanga

No other place to go

December 2015.  It was Open Day at Life Esidimeni, a fun day for patients and their families.  Lindiwe and her son Siyabulela Roger Msimanga ate chicken licken and ice cream and Siyabulela tucked into the chocolate cake that she had bought him. It was a happy occasion.

“We took this photo on that day,” Lindiwe remembers.  Siyabulela had suffered from mental illness from an early age and had moved to Life Esidimeni in 2002.  As an unemployed  single mother, Lindiwe did not have the means to care for him herself.

But a fun day was spoilt when the staff made an announcement that Life Esidimeni was closing in February. “Some of us cried.  We didn’t have another place to go,” Lindiwe says. "We filled in a petition.”

Later MEC Qedani Mahlangu advised that her office would find places for patients who needed to be taken care of and give everyone details regarding the move. But Lindiwe received no information.

“In June I received a call from social workers from Life Esidimeni advising me that Siyabulela was at Shammah NGO in Mamelodi West.”

Then on 9 September she received a call that Siyabulela had died. He was only 33 years old.

“I was heartbroken by the death of my son. I believe he died because he did not receive proper care at Shammah NGO. The Gauteng Department of Health is responsible for his death.”