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Sadag launches urgent court bid over 50 mentally ill patients

The group wants to stop Gauteng Health from relocating patients from the Esidimeni hospital group.

FILE. The Johannesburg offices of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN."

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has filed urgent legal papers in the High Court in Johannesburg, hoping to stop the Gauteng Health Department from relocating 50 mentally ill patients from the Esidimeni hospital group.

Sadag says it has proof that the department will be moving the patients to an NGO today, which the group claims is a violation of an earlier agreement with the department.

Last year, both parties agreed to pause the relocation of 2,000 patients from the hospital.

In its legal papers, Sadag argues that an agreement was reached between all parties that no patient would be removed from the Esidimeni Hospital pending the conclusion of further discussions.

But the group argues that 50 patients from Randfontein's Life Esidimeni and Life Esidimeni Rand West have been identified by the department and will now be transferred to the Takalani Home.

Sadag says it's tried to meet department officials but has not been kept in the loop.

The Gauteng health department has previously said it's gradually discharging patients to make the process easier on them.

It is yet to comment on the new legal challenge and on whether it's broken any agreements.

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