Fears of another Esidimeni as Brakpan NGO takes GHD to court

The San Michele home, an NGO in Brakpan that cares for psychiatric patients, says it is back in court on Wednesday after the Gauteng Health Department failed to pay its subsidies over the last three months.

It says the Southern Gauteng High Court ruled in its favor last week with costs to the department, yet the monies have not been paid despite having a 36-month agreement with the department.

The NGO says it was given only four days notice that its subsidy was being cut.

The home which has been operating for over 72 years currently houses 204 patients, some mentally ill.

Administrator Marius Bosman says he is afraid that this will result in another Esidimeni tragedy.

They were supposed to pay our money last week Friday which they haven't done, so this morning I am back at the High Court to seek relief because we cannot look after 204 patient if we do not get paid by the department.

Marius Bosman, San Michele administrator

They violated the service level agreement which is very clear on how to deal with issues.

Marius Bosman, San Michele administrator

We cannot look after the patients without money, and we are in dire straits at the moment.

Marius Bosman, San Michele administrator

A decision by the department to cut the subsidies of NGOs raised fears that 160 of them may face closure.

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says while alternative arrangements have been made for some of NGOs, an interim license has been recommended for San Michele and there is documentation confirming the payment.

It is also the license problem that needs to be solved. I also have confirmation from our accounting offices that he authorised for all the NGOs that are not compliant but have cooperated, that they be provisionally licensed and yesterday I was given a list of 146 NGOs whose payments have been processed and San Michele is one of them.

Gwen Ramokgopa, Gauteng Health MEC

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