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Selebano signed plan to move Esidimeni patients

Dr Barney Selebano signed the letter that was sent to the Life Esidimeni group, notifying them of their contract termination.

A screengrab of suspended Gauteng Health HOD Dr Barney Selebano at the Esidimeni hearing on 7 December 2017.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng's suspended Health HOD Doctor Barney Selebano told the Esidimeni arbitration hearings on Thursday he signed the plan to move psychiatric patients to ill-equipped NGOs on instruction from disgraced former MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

Selebano signed the letter that was sent to the Life Esidimeni group, notifying them of their contract termination.

However, he maintained he didn’t compile the letter or decide on the termination.

Selebano was questioned by retired deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

“Your affidavit tells us you signed on instructions of MEC Qedani Mahlangu is that correct?”

Selebano responded: “Okay, that’s correct.”

WATCH LIVE: Day three for Dr Barney Selebano at Esidimeni hearings

Selebano’s signature is on the project plan with the date 14 October 2016.

By this time, more than 1,700 mentally ill patients had already been moved to illegal NGOs.

Legal Aid South Africa’s Lilla Crouse then questioned Selebano about this shocking revelation and the fact that by then dozens of people had already died.

"Why would you sign after 81 people had already died?"

"Council, at face value when you look at this you are correct. But I want to implore you to believe me when I say this error was then carried on."

But Crouse said it was not an error.

"It's exactly how it's stated here and in your affidavit."

But Selebano insisted it was an error and that he signed off in October 2015.

However, Crouse put it to him that this would not have been possible because at that time a project leader had not been appointed.

'GOVT'S FAILURES'

Gauteng Premier David Makhura insists the Esidimeni tragedy could've been avoided.

He said it revealed the arrogance of some government officials.

Makhura tabled his fourth political report in the provincial legislature on Thursday.

He then moved to highlight government's successes and failures, bringing the Life Esidimeni deaths into focus.

Makhura said all those involved must understand there can be no closure for the families without full disclosure.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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