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Esidimeni patient was taken to butchery address, not NGO - family member claimed

118 psychiatric patients died as a result of the Gauteng Health Department's decision to move them from Esidimeni facilities to unlawful NGOs.

Health Department Director-General Precious Matsoso. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The national Health Department’s Director-General has revealed that she was told by a family member of one of the Esidimeni victims that their loved one had been taken to an address that turned out to be a butchery.

Precious Matsoso has been testifying on the fourth day of the Esidimeni arbitration hearings.

One hundred and eighteen psychiatric patients died as a result of the Gauteng Health Department's decision to move them from Esidimeni facilities to unlawful non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke asked Matsoso whether she was okay as she cried while testifying.

"Do you want us to take a short adjournment? It may be that you need to catch your breath."

Matsoso then told a story of a family member who called and told her that she had investigated and found that her loved one had been taken to a butchery and not an NGO.

"When she asked where her relative was, she was told her relative was at a facility in Saulsville. She said she knew Saulsville very well and the facility referred to was a butchery."

She says she immediately left a family event on that Saturday to probe the matter herself and found that the address was actually for a mortuary.

Matsoso also apologised for government’s failure to protect the patients.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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