Port Elizabeth - No frail care centres in the Eastern Cape will be closed, Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi has said, after the DA demanded that Premier Phumulo Masualle fire her over plans to have patients rehoused with NGOs.
The DA's request relates to Sihlwayi's handling of two Life Esidimeni frail care centres in Port Elizabeth, in Algoa Park and Lorraine, and a turnaround strategy which includes moving the 239 residents to NGOs, Netwerk24 reported.
Sihlwayi told MECs last week that there are no similarities between the situation in the Eastern Cape and what happened in Gauteng, where at least 94 mentally ill patients died after being moved from Life Esidimeni to a number of NGOs.
The Eastern Cape Department of Social Development earlier said in a statement that Sihlwayi was in contact with Minister Bathabile Dlamini to ensure that the process of moving the patients ran smoothly.
She said she was discussing the matter with Masualle, Dlamini and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
Service delivery investigation
"No facility will be closed and no services suspended. This includes the centres in Lorraine and Algoa Park, where 239 residents will stay until a new contract can be signed."
Sihlwayi said last week, after the release of Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba's damning report into the deaths of 94 psychiatric patients in Gauteng, that it was misleading to compare that situation to her attempts to correct irregular and excessive subsidies for beneficiaries.
Makgoba had found that at least 94 psychiatric patients who had been moved from Life Esidimeni to NGOs had died as a result of neglect and mismanagement.
"I will definitely study his report and take note of any implications there might be for the Eastern Cape. It is of critical importance that my department and NGOs discuss the matter and I have decided to investigate inadequate service delivery and will welcome new tenders."
"A community is judged by how it cares for the elderly and the frail," she said.