Lethole's family 'relieved' they now know the truth of how he died at Tembisa Hospital

Before he died, Shonisani Lethole took to social media to reach out to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Before he died, Shonisani Lethole took to social media to reach out to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Image: #JusticeforShoni/Change.org

The family of the man who was starved for over four days at the Tembisa Tertiary Hospital on the East Rand say they are relieved that they now know the truth behind their son's death.

"The report provided answers to many questions we had. It is very disturbing...my son died a lonely death," said Shonisani Lethole's mother Patricia Lethole.

In a press conference held on Thursday morning, she said she hopes the hospital urgently applies the recommendations of the health ombudsman, Prof Malegapuru Makgoba. "I was so shocked at how a hospital can be an enemy of truth...how can you deal with human beings if you cannot show the truth?" she asked.

Khwezi Mabasa from the Justice for Shonisani campaign  called for the suspension of  hospital CEOLekopane Mogaladi.

Other demands include:

  • A functioning board which will have community participation;
  • Political stakeholders to launch a disciplinary inquiry into the senior medical staff;
  • The relevant political authorities to make sure the hospital follows the relevant Covid-19 and critical care protocols, record keeping and updates to families;
  • PPE for staff and to improve Covid-19 tracking and tracing;
  • Management and staff to complete the relevant ethical leadership courses;
  • Authorities to meet with the Lethole family every month and give progress report on the recommendations; and
  • Publicly acknowledge the pain of other families that have lost loved ones due to poor  care.

Mogaladi on Thursday morning said he would take the report for review.

On Wednesday, Makgoba said the hospital had failed to provide  proof that they fed Lethole. The document provided by the hospital was  deemed invalid because it did not have his name, the diet he was prescribed with and the time he ate.

They also withheld information from the investigators, Makgoba said.

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