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MEC: Dept can win case against ex-HOD in Life Esidimeni tragedy

The department revealed earlier this year that suspended health HOD Barney Selebano had enlisted a legal team to challenge the Health Ombudsman’s report.

FILE: Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says she believes the department could win a case against suspended health Head of Department (HOD) Barney Selebano in the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

The department revealed earlier this year that Selebano had enlisted a legal team to challenge the Health Ombudsman’s report.

The HOD was placed on precautionary suspension after the Ombudsman's report named him among officials who were found to have been negligent and reckless in moving mentally ill patients to 27 unlicensed NGOs.

More than 100 patients died due to the lack of care.

The Gauteng Health Department says it postponed the disciplinary hearing of Selebano to allow his appeal process against the Ombudsman's report to be completed.

When asked if she believed the department had a case against Selebano, Ramokgopa said the report supports their case.

“Perhaps the question to be asked is: where there any patients that were placed in situations which precipitated their medical conditions and therefore contributed to their deaths? The answer to that is the positive findings that the Ombudsman has confirmed.”

The minister has since appointed a tribunal to investigate the appeal and compile a report.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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