Dad tells of search for Esidi­meni pa­tient

The Witness - - NEWS -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Rev­erend Joseph Maboe (80) was stunned the day he fi­nally man­aged to track down his son, Billy.

Billy was moved from Life Esidi­meni to an NGO in Ham­man­skraal in Pre­to­ria with­out any con­sul­ta­tion with his fam­ily, and his con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated.

“Billy was de­hy­drated, he was hun­gry, he was filthy, he was smelly,” said Maboe.

Less than a week after find­ing his son at Boph­e­long, one of the NGOs where the around 1 400 Life Esidi­meni pa­tients had been trans­ferred, Billy (53) died.

Billy’s story was one of two cases high­lighted by Health Om­buds­man Pro­fes­sor Male­ga­puru Mak­goba dur­ing the first day of the al­ter­na­tive dis­pute res­o­lu­tion hear­ings held in Jo­han­nes­burg.

His father told News24 that his son had been sent to var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions through the years as he suf­fered from epilepsy and an­other men­tal dis­or­der.

“He was part of the fam­ily at Life Esidi­meni. We were very happy with him there. But then the forced re­movals hap­pened — I call it forced re­movals be­cause it was like the forced re­moval dur­ing apartheid,” Maboe said.

When Maboe ar­rived to visit his son one day in June 2016, se­cu­rity in­formed him that they didn’t know where his son was. Maboe then made con­tact with Sec­tion27, which is rep­re­sent­ing 54 other fam­i­lies dur­ing the arbitration hear­ings.

A few days later he got a call from a num­ber he did not know.

“... I heard some faint voice on the other end of the line and I asked who it was. He said: ‘Pappa, it’s Billy.’ It made me so happy to hear his voice,” he said.

Maboe made ar­range­ments to visit his son on the Saturday, but when he ar­rived he was shocked at the con­di­tion of his son in and the fa­cil­ity.

Joseph said dur­ing the mid­dle of the next week he was phoned and in­formed that his son wasn’t well and had been taken to hos­pi­tal. After strug­gling to get ac­cess to the hos­pi­tal “... even­tu­ally they said: ‘We’re sorry, Billy died around 2.30 pm’ ... I was stunned,” he said.

Billy’s death cer­tifi­cate states lower res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion as cause of death.

Joseph said he is plan­ning on at­tend­ing the arbitration hear­ing into the deaths of 118 pa­tients un­til the end and might be called on to tell Billy’s story. — News24.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.