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DA: Statement by Karen de Kock, Democratic Alliance Northern Cape Health Spokesperson, on mentally ill man raped in holding cell (16/08/2012)

16th August 2012


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A mentally ill man has been raped in the holding cells of a Calvinia police station as a result of the Northern Cape Health Department continuing to drag its feet on proper care facilities.

The DA wrote to Health MEC Mxolisi Sokatsha today warning that his Department is increasingly complicit in gross violations of the rights of the mentally ill people in the province.


Mentally ill people across the Northern Cape are currently staying at home without proper care facilities while the majority of state patients are housed at the old Kimberley Prison.

This is because of the Health Department’s failure to make proper temporary provision for the mentally ill while the Kimberley mental hospital remains half-built due to delays caused by court cases regarding the contract.


There are currently just 12 beds for mentally ill state patients in the entire province. They are based at West-end hospital in Kimberley, 11 hours away from Calvinia in the Namakwa district.

The Calvinia man, whom the DA has chosen not to name, was arrested after his behaviour got out of control at the home where he stays with his 86-year-old mother.

The man receives medication for his mental illness from his local clinic but there are no facilities available for him to get proper care. He was raped in the holding cell after his arrest.

The DA is currently assisting the family to apply for the man to be transferred to the West-end facility in Kimberley but his placement is unlikely due to the massive waiting list.

The Health Department must make immediate provision to expand the care options available to the mentally ill or find themselves legally liable for the tragedies that continue to occur.


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