Motsoaledi halts move of psychiatric patients in E Cape and Limpopo

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the transfer of Life Esidimeni Hospital psychiatric patients was part of the global de-institutionalisation project, which allows for patients to be integrated back into their communities while still being offered healthcare.

Motsoaledi says South Africa adopted the de-institutionalisation project passed by the World Health Organisation in its mental health strategy plan and policy document in 2013.

He says nobody suspected the Gauteng Department of Health was not following the right procedure.

Motsoaledi says the department will start a healing process with families of those who died, as the Health Ombudsman recommended.

The minister says he has asked Limpopo and Eastern Cape not to embark on the same project.

I don't think Eastern Cape programme will go on, but if it goes on, plunging us into a disaster of proportions that we can't describe. Minister of Social Development agreed that he will not do it.

Aaron Motsoaledi, Health Minister

He says he established the Health Ombudsman office in 2013 specifically to investigate these kinds of eventualities, and asked for the investigation as soon as he became aware of deaths last year.

Listen to the full interview with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on the Life Esidimeni tragedy below...

Yesterday, Health Ombudsman revealed that there at least 94 people who died when being transferred from the care of Esidimeni last year. Gauteng health MEC Mahlangu resigned just before the report was released.

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Xolani Gwala says the anticipated Health Ombudsman report into Esidimeni psychiatric patients deaths is crucial to ensure justice.

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The Gauteng Department of Health has extended its contract with Life Esidimeni until June after concerned families marched to its offices.

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