The former director of Gauteng Mental Health Services, Dr Mmakgabo Manamela is scheduled to testify before the Life Esidimeni Inquest when it resumes on the 17th of next month.
On Wednesday the High Court in Pretoria withdrew the arrest warrant issued against her for failing to show up. Manamela had claimed ill health and later cited difficulties in uploading evidence documents.
The inquest is probing whether anyone can be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 mental health patients. Most of them died of hunger and dehydration during the June 2016 relocation from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped and unregistered NGOs.
Cross-examination of the former head of Gauteng’s provincial Health Department Dr Tiego Selebano has meanwhile been concluded. Selebano told the inquest he regretted having signed and authorised the licenses for the NGOs.
“I took that decision. No one did, I took that decision. And I understand I wish wouldn’t have done it. But remember the licenses are on a cycle so 14 April to the next 14 April. That’s when I said Dr Manamela if I sign these things I wanted to clip them with what we’ve signed. That’s what we did. And then I wrote a memo to say I have signed to regularize the after the discussion with the Ombudsman who insisted these NGOs if I do not sign they’re unlawful, illegal somewhere there.”
VIDEO | Life Esidimeni Inquest I Former mental health director Makgabo Manamela to postpone her testimony: