The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is preparing action against nine more NGOs implicated in wrongdoing in the Life Esidimeni scandal.

This follows a court ruling on Friday. Two Gauteng health service providers were ordered to return more than R630,000.

A total of 28 NGOs were given contracts to care for mentally ill patients and elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

But they weren’t properly vetted and many were ill-equipped to deal with the patients in their care.

In total, 144 patients died as a result of the Gauteng Health Department’s decision to remove them from proper medical care.

Horror stories emerged during the ensuing inquiry that revealed many patients had died of hunger or thirst, and many more were kept in inhumane and unsanitary conditions.

The SIU was tasked with probing the evidence and pursuing legal action against NGOs who had acted improperly.

Now the Gauteng High Court has ordered two of the NGOs, the Anchor Center for the Intellectually Disabled and Dorothy Evangeline Franks, pay back more than R630,000 to the Health Department.

The SIU is preparing to institute similar legal action against the owners of nine more NGOs.