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never again

Mokgoba

Professor Malegapuru Makgoba

No guns: 94+ silent deaths and still counting 

In September 2016 Jack Bloom stood up in the Gauteng Legislature and forced MEC Qedani Mahlangu to answer questions about the move of mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni She told him to stop ‘grandstanding’ but eventually admitted that 36 mentally ill patients had died. It was later revealed that at this time 77 unlawful deaths had already taken place in NGOs.

Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, then requested that the Health Ombuds, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba investigate the deaths.

Professor Makgoba released his report in February 2017. His findings were shocking. There were 94 unlawful deaths. And the deaths were caused by reasons other than ‘mental health'. “I call this a provisional number,”he said because there were corpses in mortuaries that had not been identified and families were still coming forward with more deaths. He said he suspected that the numbers were higher than that.

“That is why I entitled my report 94+ silent deaths and still counting.“ Nine months later, evidence emerged that 144 mental health patients had lost their lives.

The second major finding of the report was that all 27 NGOs where people were transferred to from Life Esidimeni, were operating under invalid licenses.  He also found that the Department of Health was negligent in moving 1900 patients from Life Esidimeni.

The MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned the night before the Ombuds report was released.

The Ombuds Report