MORE TRAGIC DEATHS FOLLOWING BOTCHED GAUTENG MARATHON HEALTH PROGRAMME
Sbongile Khumalo was looking forward to meeting with her cousin at the end of November.
It has been months since she last saw him.
Taking some fruits, chocolates and other goodies along with her, she boarded taxis from Pimville, Soweto, en route to the Isidimeni Life Health Care Centre in Waverley, Germiston.
When she arrived nobody could say where was her uncle Alfred Khumalo, 63.
With panic setting in she demanded to speak to the matron in charge.
After being made to wait at the gates for about an hour it was only then that her worst fears were confirmed.
A security guard told her coldly:
“Lo muntu om’funayo kudala washona”,
(The person you looking for died a long time ago)
Alfred had died on October 14, she was told.
Overwhelmed with shock and angst she screamed:
“Why didn’t you inform me, all this time” she asked.
“You have my contact details. Two phone contact details and my home address.
“Why, why, why,” she cried.
Nobody could give her a satisfactory answer.
They claim they did not have her contact details.
The death of her cousin conjures up horrific images of the Life Esidimeni inquiry early this year into how mentally ill patients were transferred to unlicensed NGOs where they met their untimely deaths.
Khumalo says her cousin was a patient at the Vuyiswa Home in Orange Farm before the Gauteng department of health moved him and other patients to Germiston during December last year.
She says if it’s true they did not have her contact details, as they claim, why didn’t they contact the Vuyiswa Home in Orange Farm where he was transferred from.
“On transfer they should have taken his card etc. which had my particulars as one of his closest relatives who kept on visiting him.
“It’s all lies.
“I will definitely not rest until I get to the bottom of this matter,” she said.
Khumalo says she insisted that the people at the care centre take her to her cousin’s grave.
“Imagine, they had buried him in Nigel, very far from his family,” she said.
It’s been a mission to obtain comment from both the Gauteng department of health and authorities at the Waverley Care Centre.
Put simply, they have gone to ground.
The Khumalo family is still in the dark about circumstances that led to their loved one’s death and media inquiries sent on November 26 have gone unanswered.
On Tuesday the family received his death certificate, which shows he died of unnatural causes.
“What does this mean. Clearly we deserve an explanation,’ said Sbongile.
On Tuesday several family members of 144 mentally ill patients who died when the department transferred 1 700 patients to various NGOs after it terminated its contract with Life Esidimeni in Randfontein staged a protest march outside Gauteng premier David Makhura’s office.
A retired judge Dikgang Moseneke had early this year ordered the Gauteng provincial government to pay each family a sum of about R1,2m.