never again

getting in bus

Takalani – an ill-equipped NGO for children where adult patients were moved to.

hearing day 11 4

Dr Talatala – psychiatrist

She had brown paper and plastic in her stomach

In December 2015 the Gauteng Department of Health reached a settlement agreement with SADAG, SASOP, SAFMH and the families. They agreed that before The Department moved anyone, they had to provide a safe plan for the transfer of mentally ill patients.

In March 2016 the Department accidently revealed in a meeting with SADAG that it had a plan to discharge patients and start moving them to NGOs. They were going to move 54 adult patients with different chronic mental illnesses to Takalani Home, a completely unsuitable and ill-equipped NGO for children. Cassey Chambers, Operations Director at SADAG wrote to The Department: “This matter is one of great urgency. The harm that may arise from these circumstances is considerable, imminent and likely to be irreparable.”

SADAG, SASOP and the families were forced to take The Department to court to try to prevent patients being moved.  

But The Department mislead the court. They denied these patients needed special mental healthcare services and the judge believed them. The court ruled in The Department’s favour.

Dr Talatala, a psychiatrist said: “The government convinced the judge that people were okay to be moved to Takalani. But a doctor should view patients and assess their needs, before they are moved.”

One week later The Department started moving people out.

On 26 March 2016 the first mental health care patient died. Deborah Phetla died at Takalani. She had brown paper and plastic in her stomach.