Bizarre! Five mentally impaired and depressed patients die at the Kairos Centre in less than two months

Families want answers after five mentally impaired and depressed patients recently died in bizarre circumstances at the Kairos Centre.


Five mentally impaired and depressed patients have died in bizarre circumstances at the Kairos Centre in Cullinan in the last two months.

The families of the patients have spoken out and demanded answers from the Centre but to no avail. 

To understand the tragedy at the Centre, you first need to meet the patients who had died.

The first death, 3rd of July 2021: 

Meet 30-year-old mentally impaired Shane Jordaan, who went missing from the Centre on the 4th of June 2021.

Photo: Supplied

According to his family, the Centre did not notify them went Shane went missing. 

“The police phoned us on day 6 to inform us of Shane’s disappearance after he went missing and, by that time, did not bother to report the matter to the police. Only a circulation nr was given.” 

We spoke to Shane’s distraught sister, Christan Jordaan. 

“We only found out that he was missing a week after his disappearance. We immediately opened a missing person’s case.” 

Christan said they mobilised search teams to start searching for Shane.

“On the 16th of June 2021, we had a search party for Shane and again on the 3rd of July 2021.” 

An emotional Christan said she discovered the mutilated body of her beloved brother during the second search, seemingly dumped along the old Cullinan Road. The body of Shane was found about 8 kilometres from the Kairo’s Centre. 

“We were walking down the road when I noticed him in the ditch. I could only see his feet. An uncle went down and confirmed that it was Shane.” 

Christan says they, as a family, do not believe that Shane died at the spot where he was found and that all evidence found indicates that he was dumped there. 

She furthermore said that they were told that Shane was hit by a car. 

“I do not believe that Shane was hit by a car. The injuries he sustained do not correlate with that of a pedestrian accident.”

The management of Kairos was allegedly not very sympathetic when they heard that Shane’s body was found. 

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“We were not allowed to go to his room to pack up his things after his death. We were only given his ID and his Sassa card.” 

Christan said the last time she saw her brother alive was before the lockdown was implemented last year. 

“It was understandable that we could not see him or pick him up for visitations, but we were shocked to see recent photos of Shane. It was clear that he was not well looked after. He looked like a homeless person.”    

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She furthermore said they were worried about the circumstances in which her brother lived at the Centre. 

“On several occasions when we picked up Shane for a visit, we found him sitting outside on a rock at the gate, with his medicine in his hand.

“He smelled so bad that we would have to open the windows and immediate bath, clean and shave him once we got home.”

Christan said they could not get answers from the Centre. 

The second death, the 3rd of July 2021: 

The second patient who died in the past two months was 48-year-old Gordon Cloete. 


Details surrounding his death are not known at this stage. 

According to Bernadette Cloete, his sister, the rumours that Gordon ate five plates of food before he suddenly collapsed and died were false. 

“Gordon died of natural causes. Although he died of natural causes, many other questions were raised regarding other medical issues.”

Bernadette said she was phoned and informed at around 19:00 of Gordon’s death with the words: He is gone…he is gone. 

The third death, 29th of July 2021: 

A 45-year-old Cornel Grobler was taken to the Kairos Centre in October last year after being hospitalised. 

Photo: Facebook

An emotional Riana Grobler said her religious, beautiful daughter, who loved animals and children, was diagnosed with depression. 

She said Cornel was not mentally impaired. 

“Last year, when she was in the hospital, I thought a centre like Kairos would be perfect for Cornel, she did not always drink her medication when she had to, and at this Centre she would be monitored daily and get the treatment she needed.” 

She said the Centre never informed her that Cornel had been vocal about not wanting to live anymore.

Riana said she became concerned in July when she spoke to Cornel, who informed her that she struggled to sleep.

“I made arrangements with the Centre to go and pick up Cornel on Sunday and to take her to a doctor on Monday to ensure that she gets all the medication she needed.” 

On Thursday, the week before Riana, she had arranged to take Cornel to the doctor. She noticed that a Whatsapp message on her phone.

“The Whatsapp message was from one of the patients of the Centre. It read: Sorry, Cornel hanged herself, she is dead.

“I completely lost it and started screaming. I tried to phone the number that had sent me the message, but it was obvious that someone kept on rejecting my calls. When my sister dialed the number, the manager answered and confirmed that Cornel had died.” 

A manager named Babs phoned Riana on the Sunday to find out how she was doing. 

“She told me that Cornel had given the social worker a handwritten letter stating she did not want to live anymore. 

Riana said she was saddened and disappointed with the manner the Centre handled Cornel’s death. 

“I don’t understand what happened on the day of my daughter’s death. I still have so many questions, one being if the staff knew she had suicidal thoughts, why was she left alone long enough to harm herself, and why was I not informed of this immediately? And why did the social worker not contact me after the note?” 

Riana also said that she was shocked to recently learn that Cornel had previously tried to commit suicide in the Centre and that she was not informed of it. 

ALSO READ: Kairos Centre accused of negligent conduct after four psychiatric patients died

According to Riana, Cornel was only taken to the psychiatrist once during her stay at the Centre. 

“Cornel told me that she had repeatedly asked when she would be taken to the psychiatrist again, and there was always an excuse such as they did not have a driver available.”

Within hours of Cornel’s death, Riana was removed from all Whatsapp groups and blocked by the once-friendly staff members who looked after Cornel. 

“When family members arrived at the Centre to pick up Cornel’s things, they were only given her phone outside by the gate. When asked if they could go to her room, the woman said no because Cornel’s death had caused so much trouble and problems for them that they cant go to her room.” 

The fourth death, 6th of August 2021:  

The DA Bronwynn Engelbrecht confirmed the fourth death of a woman as well as the Gauteng Health Department but could not provide more details surrounding her death. The name of the woman is known to The South African but could not yet be confirmed.

The fifth death, 12th of August 2021: 

According to Engelbrecht it was alleged that Peet Smith was chased away. It is believed he left a suicide note five days after being chased away from the Centre. 

Photo: Supplied

“Obviously, without any food and nowhere to go, he decided that he could not continue with living and had run in front of a car.” 

The family of Petrus Smith could not yet be reached. 

Engelbrecht said there are claims that patients are being neglected, starved, and not served a balanced diet meal, with no proper regular monitoring of whether they are taking their medication and of their physical wellbeing.

She has laid criminal charges against the Kairos Centre for negligent conduct. 

Engelbrecht furthermore said the Gauteng Department of Health must be held accountable for all patients transferred to care facilities that they fund, such as Kairos Centre. 

She added that the department must evaluate these centres regularly to determine whether the living conditions are conducive for patients with such a debilitating chronic condition. 

“Care workers must be adequately trained to assist patients during elevated or depressed mood swings. Correct meal planning is essential to ensure that patients eat a balanced diet for optimal physical and mental wellbeing.” 


The Kairos Centre houses more than 120 psychiatric patients in Cullinan.

The house is registered as a non-profit organisation with the Department of Social Development. It is licensed to provide Community Based Mental Health Services by the Gauteng Department of Health.

It is also subsidised for the mental health services it provides by the Gauteng Department of Health.


The Gauteng Health Department confirmed that three patients died in July and two in August. 

 Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said a remedial plan had been developed and implemented. 

“The Department will continue monitoring the NGO on a daily basis until they meet the requirements for compliance.”

Kekana furthermore said the investigation is ongoing, and the report has not been finalised.

“The investigation is ongoing and is likely to be concluded in September.” 


Meanwhile, police are investigating some of the recent deaths. 

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said two cases had been opened at the Cullinan Police Station. 

“The first is neglecting, abusing or treating a mental health care user in a degrading manner while the second case is an inquest.” 

Masondo said they are also investigating a culpable homicide case at the Boschkop police station. 

Director and owner of the Kairos house, Susan van Niekerk could not provide any answers to the families’ questions, nor could she provide clarity on what recently transpired at the Kairos house that led to the death of five patients. 

When asked about the photos doing the rounds on social media showing patients sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor and photos of the food being served at the Kairos house, she responded quickly and abruptly, saying these were old photos. Van Niekerk deleted the message shortly after that. 

Here are the photos:

Photos: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

When Van Niekerk was asked about the Shammah house in Cullinan, which she also runs, she responded that the house has not been open for years and deleted this message before she referred all questions to her lawyer, Oelof de Meyer. 

Meyer did not respond to any of the media inquiries. 

Van Niekerk and the Shammah house made headlines in 2017 amid the well-known Life Esidimeni tragedy. 

A total of 144 Life Esidimeni patients died after being moved to various non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The Shammah house ran by Susan van Niekerk was one of these NGOs. 

In a media report in 2017, Van Niekerk said she was taking care of 110 patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni.

Van Niekerk told the media that the conditions at the centres are through no fault of their own. Shammah House had 265 patients at that time, 112 of whom were transferred from Life Esidimeni. 

Van Niekerk also said they received R70 per patient per day, which equates to just over 230 thousand Rand per month.

Van Niekerk maintained that this was not adequate for her to employ the required amount of medical and nursing staff.

It was not yet clear where the 112 patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni were in 2021.

The Life Esidimeni inquest resumed on Monday following a four-week break.

The inquest is investigating whether criminal proceedings should be instituted against anyone linked to the deaths of 144 Life Esidimeni patients who died after being moved to various non-governmental organisations (NGOs).