In Johannesburg, South Africa, dozens of chained patients were taken from a religion-run mental institution, located in Moletjie, Mabokelele, Limpopo. Police reported many of the patients were being treated like animals and restricted from taking medications that may help their conditions. The religious leaders say they do not allow medications in their institution, “We burn pills and tell them that ‘here we use the word of God, not medication!'”
SAHRC Limpopo manager Victor Mavhidula said the conditions were appalling. “We found people that were chained, something which is against human rights… Our Constitution does not allow chaining of mental patients.” Some of the patients also had marks on their backs, indicating that they may have been whipped and otherwise beaten.
The institution, run by The Church of Christ Assemblies, has been shut down and patients have been moved to a safe facility where their health and well-being can be evaluated by real doctors. This is one of the major problems allowing the religious to care for the insane is a bad idea, as we can see in this case, it’s the crazy treating the crazy and that’s never a good thing.
I’m glad the South African Human Rights Commission stepped in and shut this place down, but I have to ask, how long did this abuse go on? Certainly it didn’t just start, is there no ongoing inspections in South Africa? Do they not have government-run agencies that oversee mental institutions or other medical treatment centers? Did those people give this place a clean bill of health while this abuse was going on? We just don’t know, but those are good questions that people ought to be asking. It’s sad that this happened at all, even sadder if this was a long-standing problem. That’s why we have Horror Show Sunday.