Another psychiatric patient dies in Gauteng – Jack Bloom

DA says reported number of deaths now stand at 39 but adds that there may be more

Another psychiatric patient dies in Gauteng

12 December 2016

Another psychiatric patient who was transferred to an NGO in Gauteng has died, bringing the reported total to 39 deaths although there may be more.

According to a weekend report, Julian Pieterson from Newclare in western Johannesburg died last week at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital where he had been transferred from the NGO.

His family had visited him at the NGO in Pretoria where they described the conditions as "terrible", with no proper medication and patients not well fed.

It is also significant that Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu revealed for the first time last week that her own brother was one of the psychiatric patients who died when he "got transferred illegally like all the other families".

Speaking at Constitution Hill on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Bogopane-Zulu said: "As the government, we acknowledge upfront what happened in Gauteng was wrong, the intentions were good but the execution was a disaster, absolute disaster. Patients' medical assessments were not done, the referrals were not properly done."

This devastating indictment by the deputy minister adds to pressure on Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to resign or be fired by Premier David Makhura.

According to the Mahlangu Monitor at #MahlanguMustGo that I have set up on Twitter, it is now 90 DAYS that Mahlangu is still in office after admitting that 36 patients had died in response to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

It is utterly shameless that she continues to deny accountability and is protected by Premier Makhura.

I am confident that she will have to go once the Health Ombudsman completes his report which Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi must make public so that justice is seen to be done.

Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, 12 December 2016