Calling on Immediate Action in S. Africa!! To President Zuma — S. Africa

To: President Zuma, Minister Dlamini and Minister Motsoledi
7 February 2017

Re: Esidimeni Crisis

The Ubuntu Centre is a Disabled people’s Organization that represents the voice of people with psychosocial disabilities, users and survivors of psychiatry and mental health care users. We advocate for our human rights and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ratified by our country March 2007) and the White Paper on the Rights of People with Disabilities, adopted and signed by President Zuma and Cabinet in December 2016.

We call and ask for the following:
1. Release a full list (and if Government does not have it), we call on Life Care Esidimeni to provide this information, of the reported1500 Esidimeni residents that were “sent home” or discharged when “deinstitutionalization” pogramme began. Provide us with their addresses and who they went home to? How many are alive? Do they have access to community supports and mental health care?
2. We have grave concerns regarding recommendation ( i ) of the Health Ombudsman Report – The SAHRC was notified on 15 March of impending doom and requested to urgently intervene. They did nothing. Please attached see attached proof of letter sent to SAHRC on 15 March 2015. They did receive it. In July when meeting Commissioner Malatji at a formal Section 11 Meeting, it was acknowledged that not much had been done, that when phoned on 24 August by SAHRC – I warned that people were going to die and still they did nothing except write a letter to this MEC and her department. Are they really suitable to run an investigation?
3. We want a full Parliamentary Review done by OUR ELECTED Parliamentarians into the Mental Health “Care ” System in SA. Is it CRPD Compliant- ultimately we realize that short term solutions will just result in a repeat of this disaster and the ongoing violations of our people. We remain hesitant that even though the legislative frameworks existed for the SAHRC to intervene – they have failed us and must be questioned before our democratically elected representatives as to why? Why did you let them die? Senzani na?
4. We want Justice and reparations made. No TRC solution – criminal sanctions applied to all responsible. This was torture and our country must make good on the obligations of the Convention on Torture which we have also ratified
5. We need to decolonize mental health in Africa – the strict adherence to the western colonial medical model of pills and hospitalization has killed people. More resources thrown at psychiatry is not a suitable solution.

Your Sincerely

Annie Robb
7 February 2016
Media enquiries: 0720441024

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