Report into death of mentally ill patients to be released

Qedani Mahlangu (Suzanne Venter, Rapport).
Qedani Mahlangu (Suzanne Venter, Rapport).

Johannesburg – A report into the deaths of 36 mentally ill patients in Gauteng is expected to be released by the Health Ombudsman on Wednesday.

The release of the report was previously delayed because Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu wanted more time to peruse the document.

The ombudsman, Malegapuru Makgoba, said he had given a draft interim report to Mahlangu on January 6. She had undertaken to provide him with feedback by Friday, January 13, he said.

That evening, he received a letter from her, asking for an extension.

Last September Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said he had asked Makgoba to investigate the deaths of 36 patients after they were transferred from the Life Esidimeni hospital's facility in Johannesburg to various NGOs in May and June.

The move came after the department cancelled its long-running contract with Life Healthcare group, which owns Life Esidimeni, in a bid to cut costs. It had looked after about 2 000 patients.

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