28 Esidimeni patients still missing - Bloom

Families of psychiatric patients, who died after they were moved to illegal NGOs,sing outside the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown.
Families of psychiatric patients, who died after they were moved to illegal NGOs,sing outside the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Although he had been informed by police that a number of missing Life Esidimeni patients had been found‚ there were still 28 patients who had not been located‚ the Democratic Allliance’s Gauteng health spokesman‚ Jack Bloom‚ said on Sunday.

“While I am pleased that the original list of 62 has been reduced to 28 patients‚ there is a decreasing chance of finding them all since they were discharged two years ago from Esidimeni to illegally registered NGOs‚” said Bloom‚ who laid missing person cases with the police earlier this year.

He said that according to the list from the Gauteng Health Department that the police had given him‚ there were 18 males and 10 females who were missing‚ ranging in age from 27 to 79 years old.

In two cases the dates of birth were given as 1900 and 1914 but these seemed to be a mistake‚ Bloom said.

“In three cases there isn’t even a name‚ including the description ‘Male child David’ who was born in 1978.

“It is distressing that so many patients have still not been found‚ which highlights the fact that the Esidimeni tragedy is still not over.

“At some stage they will have to be presumed dead as they cannot survive long without proper care‚” Bloom said.

Meanwhile‚ better progress was needed in laying criminal charges against all those responsible for the ill-treatment and deaths of the Esidimeni patients‚ he said.

Some 144 psychiatric patients died after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Life Esidimeni Group and moved them to ill-equipped NGOs.

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