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Esidimeni: Woman tells of sister’s rape at NGO

Moelo Mofokeng’s sister Maggie is one of the psychiatric patients who survived the Esidimeni tragedy.

Moelo Mofokeng’s sister Maggie is one of the psychiatric patients who survived the Esidimeni tragedy. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A woman has told the Esidimeni arbitration hearings about how her mentally ill sister was raped by another patient at the Takalani Home in Soweto.

Moelo Mofokeng’s sister Maggie is one of the psychiatric patients who survived the Esidimeni tragedy.

Mofokeng says she can't believe patients were taken to the Soweto home, even after officials knew that her sister had been raped there several years before.

One hundred and forty-three mentally ill people died after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the life Esidimeni group, allegedly to save costs.

During her testimony on Wednesday morning, Mofokeng told retired deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke that her sister Maggie lived at the Takalani Home and was raped there by another patient in 2003.

WATCH: Esidimeni: Families of victims give testimony

She says that her sister was moved to the Esidimeni facility in Waverley after the rape, where her health improved significantly.

Section 27 lawyer Adila Hassin then read the affidavit of another woman who testified, saying that her sister was also raped at the same home last year after being moved there from Esidimeni.

“She says the following: ‘A man walked past us and she started pointing at him, she then gestured, pulling her skirt up and mimicking being strangled.”

Moseneke then expressed his worry about this and how the government allowed male and female mentally ill patients to be housed in the same wards.

“The neglect of putting men and women in the same ward at NGOs still continues to worry me.”

Mofokeng says this is why she fought against patients being moved to Takalani but her pleas fell on deaf ears.