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Nurse admits to compromising wellbeing of Esidimeni patients

Dikeledi Manaka says the Cullinan Care and Rehab Centre caters for intellectually disabled people and not for those suffering from chronic mental health illnesses.

Nursing manager Dikeledi Manaka. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A deputy nursing manager at a facility involved in the Esidimeni tragedy has admitted she and her colleagues compromised the wellbeing of dozens of patients and went against their oaths but argues they had no choice.

Dikeledi Manaka works at the Cullinan Care and Rehab Centre in Pretoria.

She’s testifying at the arbitration hearings in Parktown which is investigating the deaths of 143 people.

The victims were moved to ill-equipped NGOs after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Life Esidimeni group.

Manaka says the Cullinan Care and Rehab Centre caters for intellectually disabled people and not for those suffering from chronic mental health illnesses, meaning she and her colleagues agreed to take care of patients without authorisation.

She says the facility was licensed only to take care of intellectually disabled people, which is why the health ombudsman found that it was operating unlawfully.

The centre discharged some of its own patients into the care of ill-equipped NGOs while making space for those who were moved from Esidimeni.

Manaka admits that she was unhappy with the state of these NGOs but didn’t do anything about it.

“I wasn’t working there but my job was to check the patients. By the time I got there I saw that the place was in a bad state, some bed didn’t have mattresses.”

She insists she and her colleagues had no choice because of pressure from officials at the Gauteng Health Department.

WATCH LIVE: Esidimeni arbitration hearing continues

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)