The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) on Thursday urged the Gauteng health department to comply with a court order to pay subsidies to NGOs, or run the risk of forcing many of them into closure.
In a statement, the ACDP said the decision by the Gauteng health department to cut the subsidies of NGOs raised fears that 160 of them may face closure, including one that was described by the Health Ombudsman as an example of good care.
ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley said: “In February, when more than a hundred mentally ill patients died after being transferred from Life Esidimeni to 27 NGOs, the ACDP called on government to investigate how patients were transferred from licensed institutions to unlicensed ones and to review licensing policy and practices as they applied across the country.”
The party said the department acknowledged that the 27 NGOs where the patients were transferred were all underresourced, underfinanced and underprepared to take on so many mentally ill patients.
“Obviously, one assumed government would have to close down some homes that were incapable of providing a decent service. We did, however, expect that they would focus on encouraging and enabling potentially capable institutions to upgrade and obtain a licence to do the much-needed good work they do,” Dudley said.
“The ACDP is concerned that cutting subsidies is compounding the problems facing the department and possibly the worst response imaginable. We urge the department to comply with the court’s order before there are more closures leading to deaths and justified public outrage.”