The mother of one of the psychiatric patients who were moved to an unprepared facility by the Gauteng department of health has explained how she has observed her daughter’s condition deteriorate.
Nomzamo Mokoena (not her real name) has her daughter at the Takalani centre in Soweto and she told TMG Digital how things have changed since her daughter arrived at the facility.
She visited the facility towards the end of July to see how her daughter was doing. She was shocked to learn that at the time‚ the workers at the facility were on strike and security guards were having to help out.
“My daughter was a yellow bone but since she arrived there she has turned into a black bone. She has lost so much weight. When I gave the food‚ she ate like she had not eaten in years. That facility is a living hell for her. Men can easily get access to the females’ ward and the staff there when we visited was on strike.
“It was winter and my daughter had nothing warm on her and she was shivering. There is nothing there. The place traumatised her so much that she was trying to force her way out so that she could go with us when we were leaving‚” Mokoena said.
Takalani was one of many NGOs that took in psychotic adults when the Gauteng health department cancelled its contract with Life Esidimeni ‚ which housed 2‚700 state patients permanently.
The department did not want to spend R300‚000 a month on housing and medical treatment of incapacitated patients‚ some of whom did not respond to medication and were psychotic or violent.
Mokoena says the decision taken by the department was selfish and had no consideration for ordinary people.
“This government is cruel. They do not care about us or any ordinary person. All they think about is themselves. We are putting our hope in God now. It is only Him who can help us now‚” said Mokoena.
One of the officials proposed that she take her daughter to a facility in Mohlakeng which would be closer to her home but Mokoena refused as she claimed it was worse.
“I went to see it. The place is small and a lot of patients are put in a small room with no space to move around. I am not taking my daughter there‚” Mokoena said.