Missing psychiatric patients buried by NGO
17 February 2017
I am horrified by the report that a NGO privately buried the bodies of psychiatric patients who had been transferred to them from Life Esidimeni after it was closed.
Ms Karina Morale, who runs the Tshepong NGO in Pretoria, has admitted that her organization buried six of the ten patients who died there.
She says that the Gauteng Health Department knows that they gave them private burials rather than pauper burials so that they could show any family members where they were buried, but she won't reveal where these burials are.
Morale claims they died of natural causes but the families could not be contacted because the patients came to Tshepong from Esidimeni without patient files.
It is highly irregular and suspicious that private burials were done as it is usually the state's responsibility, and it would be illegal if done without a valid death certificate.
There are 19 unclaimed bodies in mortuaries that are likely to be added to the tally of former Life Esidimeni patients who died in dodgy NGOs.
There may be other NGOs who have buried bodies themselves, possibly to cover up evidence of neglect that would be exposed by a post-mortem.
The police need to investigate all private burials by NGOs and press charges if foul play is discovered.
Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 17 February 2017