Chained-up patients were removed from a church-run mental health and drug rehabilitation centre in Moletjie Mabokelele, Limpopo, following a raid, The Star reported on Thursday.
The Church of Christ Assemblies was raided by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), police and social development officials on Wednesday.
Supervisors at the facility said prayer, rather than medication, was used to rehabilitate the patients.
“We burn pills and tell them that ‘here we use the word of God, not medication’,” they said.
SAHRC Limpopo manager Victor Mavhidula said the conditions at the centre were alarming.
“Some of these patients were treated like animals.
“We found people that were chained, something which is against human rights… Our Constitution does not allow chaining of mental patients.”
Bruises on some of the patients’ backs indicated that they may have been beaten.
Social development spokesman Adel van der Linde said the patients were removed for observation and would be taken to a place of safety.
The recovering drug addicts said they did not object to being chained up.
“Here they don’t cut the tree from the top; they dig the roots out and eliminate nyaope cravings through prayer,” a 25-year-old patient said. – Sapa