The health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba found on Wednesday that 94 mentally ill patients had died unlawfully, due to bad treatment by the Gauteng department of health.
When the story first broke, the Gauteng MEC for health Qedani Mahlangu had announced that only 36 people had died. Now, government officials must face disciplinary action‚ apologise and pay compensation to the affected families, according to the ombud's report.
Here are some of the key findings:
- The "chaotically executed" Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project must "cease to exist".
- The Premier of Gauteng must consider the suitability of the health MEC to continue in her current role. (Hence the resignation.)
- Disciplinary hearings must be called against head of department Dr Tiego Ephraim Selebano and director for the mental health directorate Dr Makgabo Manamela for gross misconduct and/or incompetence. The findings against these two doctors must be reported to their respective medical professional bodies for the appropriate remedial action to be taken.
- Corrective disciplinary action must be taken against members of the GDoMH: Ms. S Mashile (Deputy Director); Mr. F Thobane (Deputy Director); Ms. H Jacobus (Deputy Director); Ms. S Sennelo (Deputy Director); Dr. S Lenkwane‚ (Deputy Director); Mr. M Pitsi (Chief Director); Ms. D Masondo (Chair MHRB)‚ Ms. M Nyatlo (CEO of CCRC) and Ms. M Malaza (Acting CEO of CCRC).
- All the remedial actions recommended must be instituted within 45 days and progress be reported to the Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Health Standards Compliance within 90 days.
- The minister of health should request the South African Human Rights Commission to undertake a systematic and systemic review of human rights compliance and possible violations nationally related to mental health.
- Appropriate legal proceedings should be instituted or administrative action taken against the NGOs that were found to have been operating unlawfully and where assisted mental health care user died.
- The National Department of Health must review all 27 NGOs involved in the Gauteng Marathon project; those that do not meet health care standards should be de-registered‚ closed down and their licenses revoked in compliance with the law.
- The National Minister of Health must with immediate effect appoint a task team to review the licensing regulations and procedures to ensure they comply with the National Health Act‚ the Mental Health Care Act 2002 and Norms and Standards. The newly established process must ensure that NGO certification is done through the OHSC. This newly established licensing process should form the first line of protection for the mentally