Life Esidimeni: Some patients were walking around naked

2017-10-18 15:25
Dikgang Moseneke. (Picture: Trevor Kunene)

Dikgang Moseneke. (Picture: Trevor Kunene)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg – The first relative to testify at the Life Esidimeni hearings said her father’s last wish before he died was that someone look after her mentally ill brother.

An emotional Sandra de Villiers testified how her brother, Jaco Stols, who was a patient at the Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre (CCRC) for more than 18 years, was one of the patients moved to one of the unlicensed NGOs.

He was moved to Siyabadinga, where De Villiers felt the staff weren’t properly trained to look after mental health patients.

De Villiers told the alternative dispute resolution hearings that after visiting her brother she felt disappointed and powerless in the way her brother and other patients were treated.

"If you look after those sorts of patients, you need to have a passion for your work,'' she said. ''They need lots of care and attention."

De Villiers said she often arrived in the winter at Siyabadinga, also in Cullinan, to visit her brother, only to find some of the patients walking around naked.

"He was very scared… Jaco was always hungry when I went to visit him. I would take him a pair of slippers, and the next time I went to visit him, they would be gone," she said.

"He wore thin clothes. It made me think; was he sleeping on the floor? Was he sleeping only on a mattress? Did he have a blanket over him? All these thoughts crossed my mind when I went to visit him," De Villiers said.

She testified that during one visit she questioned the staff about his condition and was told not to get emotional.

"I was very upset. He was my brother. How can I not get emotional?" she said.

Also read: Emotional day for the families of the victims of Life Esidimeni

Deteriorating condition 

Stols was eventually placed back at CCRC, but when his sister went to visit him, she found him in a deteriorating condition. She found him hungry and dehydrated to the extent where he nearly ate the napkin she brought him with his food.

She said a few days later, she phoned the facility and at first, staff said there was no patient by his name. 

De Villiers said she thought the staff could sense she was getting upset. Someone then phoned her back telling her that Stols was walking around and no longer in a wheelchair, and that he was eating.

"I was very relieved," she said.

"A couple of hours later, they phoned me and said they were taking him to Mamelodi Hospital, [because] he was very sick."

"When I got there, he was very dehydrated. He was badly underfed," she said.

She was told her brother should actually be in ICU, but there was no space. 

Less than two weeks later, she got a phone call from one of the nurses who told her Stols passed away.

Arbitration hearing chair, former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke told De Villiers that he was "quite saddened" to hear her story, as he worked most of his life helping those who wanted a just and fair society.

He said her story didn't reflect the constitutional ideals he worked for.

Read more on:    life esidimeni  |  johannesburg  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.