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Life Esidimeni

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In the eight years since the Gauteng health department ended its contract with a private psychiatric hospital group, Life Esidimeni, to look after long-term state mental health patients, a tragedy of 144 people dying and 44 going missing at the hands of “an admittedly delinquent provincial government” has unfolded.

HomeArticlesHealth Beat #20 | Shades of Life Esidimeni: How the Gauteng government...

Health Beat #20 | Shades of Life Esidimeni: How the Gauteng government makes up its own social welfare funding rules

  • Gauteng social development department funding cuts are resulting in organisations looking after the elderly and disabled, as well as those helping people with substance abuse problems, having to close down.
  • In May, the Gauteng High Court ordered the provincial government to honour its agreements with such organisations, but it’s been slow to do this and some have been defunded.
  • We visit Freedom Recovery Centre near Nigel, Gauteng, where staff work without pay to keep residents on their rehab programmes.
  • It has shades of the Life Esidimeni fiasco, with the Gauteng Care Crisis Committee accusing the provincial social development department of “making up its own rules” for welfare funding.

In today’s newsletter, our Health Beat team looks at how the Gauteng social development department’s budget cuts are wreaking havoc on the province’s NPOs. Sign up now.

Jessica Pitchford is Bhekisisa's TV and multimedia editor. She's been a journalist since the early nineties and has reported on some pivotal events in South Africa’s political history, such as the country’s transition to democracy and the work of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

Mia Malan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Bhekisisa. She has worked in newsrooms in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Washington, DC, winning more than 30 awards for her radio, print and television work.

Yolanda Mdzeke is a multimedia reporter at Bhekisisa.

Thatego Mashabela is a multimedia producer at Bhekisisa.

Cebelihle Bhengu is Bhekisisa’s TV health reporter and a producer for Health Beat.

Hannah Glaser is a student at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at City University of New York. She interned with the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism from June to July 2024.

Astra Rincón Montañez is a student at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at City University of New York. She interned with the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism from June to July 2024.

Ruan Visser is a South African-based freelance director of photography, crafting visual narratives with a keen eye for detail and a love for cinematic storytelling.

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