Mother took ‘miss­ing’ men­tal pa­tient

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - ROLAND MPOFU [email protected]

QUES­TIONS still sur­round the marathon Life Esidi­meni re­lo­ca­tion project months af­ter repa­ra­tions were granted to the af­fected fam­i­lies. In tal­ly­ing up the num­bers re­lo­cated, some pa­tients seem to have fallen through the cracks.

Act­ing men­tal health direc­tor in Gaut­eng Dr Ko­bie Marais said one pa­tient who was moved to a non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion (NGO) in Or­ange Farm, south of Joburg, was un­ac­counted for in the to­tal tally of 1 730.

The pa­tient’s mother said she might not be on the list be­cause she re­moved her from the NGO un­law­fully. Thandi Letswana from Vosloorus, east of Joburg, said her daugh­ter, Princess Mlotshwa, was moved from Esidi­meni in Rand­fontein to an ill-equipped NGO in Or­ange Farm. Letswana said she was shocked when Esidi­meni in­formed her.

“I was not at­tend­ing the (re­lo­ca­tion) meet­ings at Esidi­meni as I did not have the money for trans­port. Some­time in 2016 I got a call from a lady telling me my daugh­ter had been moved to an NGO in Or­ange Farm.

“When I ar­rived there I found an RDP house be­ing ren­o­vated and the name of the NGO was not on the gate. The pa­tients were sit­ting out­side with­out warm clothes on.

“When I asked the owner, Thu­lani, why they were out­side with­out warm clothes, he could not an­swer me. He just said all their clothes, iden­tity doc­u­ments and Sassa cards were miss­ing,” said Letswana.

The bad state her daugh­ter was in drove her to tears. “I did not sleep all night as I was cry­ing. So I de­cided to go back and take my daugh­ter.

“When I ar­rived I told them I would like her to visit us. That was the last time they saw her.”

Marais said Princess was not one of the 21 miss­ing pa­tients or of the 1 730 re­lo­cated pa­tients.

“I could not find her on the list, but I will check all re­ports around her dis­charge. I can con­firm she was dis­charged from Rand­fontein..”

Marais pre­vi­ously said 62 of the 100 pa­tients who went miss­ing were found with their fam­i­lies.

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