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Father ‘taken aback’ upon seeing son who died in Esidimeni tragedy

Reverend Joseph Maboe’s son Billy had been living at the Randfontein Esidimeni facility for 20 years before he was moved to the Bophelong NGO in June last year.

Reverend Joseph Maboe testified at the Esidimeni arbitration process on 19 October 2017. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A father who lost his son in the Esidimeni tragedy has described to the arbitration process how shocked he was at how frail and thin his son was, just a month after he was moved.

Reverend Joseph Maboe’s son Billy had been living at the Randfontein Esidimeni facility for 20 years before he was moved to the Bophelong NGO in June last year.

Billy is one of the 141 patients who died after being transferred to an unlawful NGO by the Gauteng Health Department.

Reverend Maboe asked to pray before starting with his testimony.

The 80-year-old pastor says he could not find his son Billy after he was moved from Esidimeni until he received a call on his 79th birthday and Billy was on the other end of the line, telling him he was in Hammanskraal.

Billy is from Randfontein and Hammanskraal is about three hours away from his loved ones.

He died just a month after being taken to the Bophelong NGO.

Reverend Maboe says he was taken aback when he saw Billy.

“When I looked at Billy, I got a shock of my life. He looked frail, he looked more disorientated, he was hungry, he was filthy and he was stinking.”

The family member of another victim is now set to testify.

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