The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, Jack Bloom, says he will open a missing persons case in Johannesburg on Monday, to help to locate the 62 Esidimeni mentally-ill patients whose whereabouts have still not been established.

One hundred and forty-four patients have died after they were moved from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped Non-Governmental Organisations. Bloom says disability grants are being collected for some of them despite not knowing whether fraud is involved and who is still alive or dead. Three key role players in the relocation of the patients have since resigned.

They are Former Gauteng MEC for Health Qedani Mahlangu, former head of the provincial Health Department Dr. Barney Selebano and former provincial head of Mental Health Dr. Makgabo Manamela.

Bloom says it is deplorable that more than 18 months since the tragedy unfolded, the Gauteng Health Department does not know the where these vulnerable patients are.

“I really think a high priority needs to be given to the 62 people who are still missing. I think it is an absolute scandal that the Gauteng Health Department and other state agencies, have not taken it seriously enough to track down the missing 62 patients. They are all very vulnerable, many of them could already be dead, some of them could be in terrible circumstances and some of them it appears, someone is collecting social security payments for them.”

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