Durban and Coastal Mental Health Home: Fresh allegations of sexual abuse exposed
Fresh allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced at the Durban and Coastal Mental Health Home, just days after it was claimed that a patient had been raped while residents are also supposedly being ill-treated and exploited.
Coincidentally, the DA was made aware of the latest claim just hours before a planned oversight inspection of the facility. A meeting with the management earlier today also saw confirmation of the claim, with the incident allegedly taking place during the course of the past 24 hours.
Management also confirmed that they had taken steps to have the alleged victim assessed by a medical practitioner and are currently awaiting a report. In the event that the claims prove founded, that they will proceed with criminal charges.
The DA is deeply concerned by the ongoing reports emanating from this facility which houses patients who have mental disabilities ranging from mild to severe conditions. We do, however, welcome the proactive stance taken by management and will allow the process to unfold while we continue to monitor matters.
One of the biggest challenges facing management at this stage is the lack of CCTV cameras which makes it very difficult to collect evidence or observe ongoings. The DA has suggested to management that this be urgently resolved so that movements within the facility – both staff and patients’ – can be monitored properly.
The facility currently receives significant funding from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health. This money is there to ensure that there are high levels of care and so that patients’ wellbeing in terms of housing, security, food and nutrition is taken care of. During the DA’s visit we found that while the facility is old in terms of infrastructure, it was clean and secure while patients seemed happy enough given their circumstances.
The DA calls on the management of the facility to remain transparent in terms of what has or has not happened. In the event that we do not believe that this is the case, we will not hesitate to intervene on behalf of the patients of this facility.
We also call on KZN’s Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo to take immediate steps and to visit this facility and so that he too can provide the necessary monitoring and support. Failure to do so may lead to another Esidemeni – this time on his watch.
Statement issued by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health, 11 July 2018