SAHRC: 'Psychiatric patients need to be heard'

The commission has concluded its first day of hearings looking at mental healthcare in South Africa.

A South African Human Rights Commission panel. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it’s become apparent that psychiatric patients need to be heard.

The commission has concluded its first day of hearings looking at mental healthcare in South Africa.

It says Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi requested the commission to intestate violations in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

The commission says it's received nationwide complaints about access to healthcare services.

Human Rights Commissioner Angie Makwetla says the department and various NGOs have been honest about the problems they face.

“If we use resources wisely, if we plan and if we budget we can meet those challenges.”

Makwetla says there’s a clear need to focus on community based healthcare.

“We need to afford mental healthcare users their rights.”

She says hopefully the recommendations drawn up at the end of the hearings will be discussed widely throughout the mental healthcare sector.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)