News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday September 30th 2022

No room for mentally ill

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14 Responses to “No room for mentally ill”

  1. Moosa Salie says:

    I can vouch for the fact that Gerald gets on well with his fellow housemates. This morning I popped around to have a chat with him and to give him some moral support. I asked him to go somewhere with me for about 15 minutes. Not knowing that he would be returning soon, one of his housemates asked him if he should do his dishes for him. If Gerald was indeed a trouble maker and did not get along with his housemates, this would never had happened.

  2. annie says:

    Michelle de Goede is the vice chairperson of the Western Cape Mental Health Review Board. This is the institution that should be protecting the rights of people living with psychiatric disabilities. Her insistence that Comcare does not have to adhere to the Prevention of Illegal Evictions because they are a “service provider” of accommodation indicates a poor understanding of legislative requirements of basic South African law and disregard for the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities to be full citizens. This is discrimination and an abuse of power. This should be deeply concerning for all stakeholders

  3. In “mental health” housing, the disability and use of services is made into a “master status” justifying subjection to the overriding authority of the service provider claiming that ordinary housing rights do not apply. Just as “mental health” laws are used to override the ordinary right to free and informed consent. And in many countries “sheltered workshop” is a euphemism for super-exploitation of people with disabilities permitted in the name of “service provision”: the service being the opportunity to do menial and unrewarding labor, for a tiny fraction of the prevailing wage.

    People in the U.S. are similarly stuck in mental health housing because it’s all they can afford on our equivalent of a disability grant. I believe what’s really needed is affordable, non-discriminatory housing separate from the mental health system. And if Mr. Schubach could find such housing it might be the best solution. But until that time, or for people who choose mental health housing, all the rights of ordinary tenants should be upheld.

  4. Jeff Makana says:

    Comcare, start caring and respecting the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities… Profits before humane treatment is a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    Do the right thing, stop the eviction process now not later…!

  5. Moosa Salie says:

    Gerald was intimidated by a fellow housemate,for having rocked the boat with the Comcare system. On Tuesday I had to fetch him at Nuralo house, as he was very distressed by the incident.

    Fortunately I was able to be there for him. What about the many who don’t have friends and a support network, and have to face the brunt of intimidation and bullying by those who have power over them?

  6. annie says:

    The case continues. The Housing Tribunal has issued an interdict halting the eviction proceedings pending an investigation. We have been informed that despite many efforts by Mr Goeieman of the Housing Tribunal to communicate with Comcare, there has been no response. Issuing a subpoena to Ms de Goede to appear before the Tribunal is being considered – failing to respond to that will be a criminal offence. Meanwhile Comcare has sent messages that “court papers are almost in order” for Gerald to leave – this indicates their disregard of the rule of law and is clearly designed to intimidate. This amounts to more than just discrimination – it is blatant disregard of the law and reflects negatively on the Social Workers and mental health professionals

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  9. […] Interesting story about a man being persecuted for swearing. Battling stigma of “mental illness”, the press continue to refer to psychosocial disability as a disease. […]

  10. penny says:

    But, just a thought, the trust specifically says that people must be relatively stable to be accommodated and not be abusing. It’s sad but it’s a place for people to stabilise and learn to live in a community with a view to eventually making their way into the ‘real world’. Swearing, etc. is not OK. If I did it at work I would be fired. This gentleman needs to go back to Valkenberg and change his medication as it’s not working.

  11. annie says:

    The case continues. Comcare has now approached the court as required by law and notice to evict has formally been served. The Court has been notified that it will be opposed. We await a court date.

  12. L Kruger says:

    It saddens me that the people who should understand the unfortunate impulses of sick people, the one’s who REALLY should understand, can be so heartless. This must be one of the hardest places on earth for the metally ill. Nobody cares. I am sure Gerald is doing his utmost to survive in a world that does not make sense to him. How dare you persecute him for swearing. We all swear and I am sure it is MUCH more difficult for him.Should such sensitive ego’s be working there?

  13. anonymous says:

    Does anyone know how Gerald is doing now?

  14. In the knowing says:

    Unfortunately all facilities have rules and regulations. Just because this man has a mental disability doesn’t give him the right to abuse. It’s easy to throw in your 5c when you are not actually trying to run such a home. If Gerald was taking his meds regularly then, he would be able to live a relatively normal life.

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