The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng has expressed concern about the well-being of the 21 missing mentally-ill patients.

The patients were discharged after the Gauteng Health Department cancelled its contract with Life Esidimeni.

Gauteng ANC spokesperson Tasneem Motara says, “We will also be working together with our neighbouring provinces because there could be a situation where these 21 patients are no longer resident in the province of Gauteng and may have moved back from where they originated from. So we will be working with our counterparts from other provinces and structures on the ground to also assist and upscale the identification of the 21 patients.”

The department says it’s making efforts to locate the patients including checking at NGOs and hospitals. It has blamed poor record keeping for the difficulties in locating them.

The department’s Lesemang Matuka says, “As the department, we are concerned about the 21 unaccounted mental health patients. We are once again calling on members of our communities, or anyone who might have information or can assist the team that has been set up to trace each and every one of these missing patients to come forward.”