Shocking conditions in an illegal drug rehab c…

When a woman and three men turned up at Sarah’s* aunt’s house one day, she thought they had come to fetch her for an “outpatient therapy session” designed to heal her fractious relationship with her mother. It was only when the gate was locked behind them at an isolated property in Hout Bay, Cape Town, that Sarah realised she had been lied to.

“You’ve been booked into Eleanore’s Recovery Centre,” she was told. And no, she couldn’t leave.

illegal rehab
The Wendy house at the Eleanore Recovery Centre in Hout Bay where seven women currently sleep while undergoing drug rehabilitation. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Sarah (28) had been committed by her mother into a 12-month drug treatment programme.

“But on what authority are you holding me here?” Sarah told Daily Maverick she frantically asked her captors. “I don’t even have a speeding fine!”

In South Africa, a person can only be…

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