Gauteng DoH looking for 62 missing Esidimeni patients – Jack Bloom

DA MPL says it is appalling that there are still missing people unaccounted for in this case


The Gauteng Health Department has asked mental health NGOs to check whether they are giving care to any person who is on a list of 62 missing Life Esidimeni patients.

A poorly worded email was sent out on Tuesday this week with the heading: “Life Esidimeni cohort 62 patients not located”.

It reads as follows:

Morning NGOs Mangers

Please check this list of 62 not located Life Esidimeni Patients in your NGOs facilities and respond to us if any of them is receiving care from any of your facility.

The email is send on behalf of Acting Mental Health Director Dr S.J Marais.

Your urgent respond will be much appreciated.


Ramaboea Semetji

Mental Health Directorate

The attached list is headed “List of 62 Mental Health Care Users Not Located, updated 23 January 2018.”

The full names of 55 patients are given, with ID numbers in most but not all cases.

In three cases only a first name is known and in another case only the surname.

There is no name at all for three of the missing patients - all that is known about them is that two are female and one is male, and their dates of birth are given.

I am appalled that a year after the Health Ombudsman’s report on the Esidimeni tragedy so many patients are still unaccounted for, and may never be found, especially those whose names aren’t even known.

This email to NGOs is a sad and belated attempt to track down all the patients who were discharged from Esidimeni.

I doubt that many of them will be traced, and they could all be dead as they would not be able to survive without decent care.

This means that the true Esidimeni death toll could be more than 200 patients.

We will never know the true enormity of the Esidimeni tragedy and all the suffering as many died with their cries unheeded, and some without even their names recorded.

The arbitration hearings chaired by Justice Dikgang Moseneke have uncovered the heartlessness and negligence of those responsible for the deaths.

It is vitally important that the police investigation is done thoroughly and concludes soon so that charges are laid and the court can decide the punishment for all those implicated in this atrocity, including former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu whose lies were clearly exposed at the hearings.

Statement issued by Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 26 January 2018