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Health Minister: Dept implementing recommendations on Esidimeni tragedy

The ombudsman investigated the death of 94 mentally ill patients who were transferred from the Life Esidimeni facility and made 18 recommendations.

FILE: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

PRETORIA – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the department is well on track to implementing the Health Ombudsman's recommendations made in the Life Esidimeni investigation.

The ombudsman investigated the death of 94 mentally ill patients who were transferred from the Life Esidimeni facility and made 18 recommendations.

The report found that the Gauteng Health Department allowed the mentally ill patients to die because they hadn’t been cared for properly when moved into the care of non-governmental organisation care facilities.

Motsoaledi says disciplinary steps have been initiated against several senior officials in the department.

“Structures like the prosecuting authority must step in to determine whether there is any criminality that must be prosecuted, and we shall leave this to them. For us, we are cooperating with the police in this regard and furnish them with any information and grant them whatever access, whenever it is needed.”

The minister says criminal cases may be opened at a later stage.

“These are one chief director, five deputy directors, one chair of the mental health review board and the CEO and acting CEO of the Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre. Steps towards disciplinary action have commenced.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)