Life Esidimeni: Official admits being pressured by Qedani Mahlangu

A Gauteng Health Department official, who headed the Esidimeni project, says that moving patients from the facilities was not as urgent as former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu had said.

State witness Levy Mosenogi, the Gauteng Health Department Chief Director of planning, policy and research, testifies during the Life Esidimeni arbitration process. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A Gauteng Health Department official who headed the Esidimeni project has admitted that he was pressurised by former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and her HOD, saying that moving patients from the facilities was not as urgent as Mahlangu had said.

Levy Mosenogi will continue testifying on Wednesday morning during the arbitration process.

At least 118 patients died as a result of being moved from Esidimen i to non-governmental organisations, which were operating unlawfully.

When retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, who is leading the arbitration process, cross-examined Mosenogi, he conceded that he had unnecessary pressure coming from Mahlangu and Dr Barney Selebano's offices.

Moseneke questioned Mosenogi about the time frames before the patients were moved.

Mosenogi responded: “[The time frames] were given by the leadership of the department.”

Mosenogi was asked to name the leaders who pressured him.

“The executive, Dr Selebano and Ms Qedani Mahlangu.”

Mosenogi then admitted that he could not explain why the moves were rushed.

“As a person and project manager, I have no excuse for why it was rushed.”

After a few hours, Moseneke said Mosenogi's answers suggest that the process was rushed.

“I have an answer. It was all irrational, it was rushed and not necessary. It was not urgent but we did it.”

The hearing continues.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)