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[ALERT] Life Esidimeni: Manamela ordered to testify

Dr Makgabo Manamela was a key figure in the Esidimeni project and was subpoenaed to testify today.

Dr Makgabo Manamela, former Gauteng director of mental health, testifies during Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings on 20 November 2017. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke has dismissed former Gauteng director of mental health Makgabo Manamela's application to postpone her testimony.

Manamela has been implicated by numerous witnesses as the person who pushed illegal activity during the marathon project.

Moseneke ordered Manamela to take the witness stand immediately.

"In my view, the application is baseless both on the facts that it purports to rely on and as well as on the law. And consequently, the application is dismissed. And Dr Manamela is directed to take the witness stand immediately."

At least 143 psychiatric patients died after being moved from Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGOs.

Earlier, Manamela’s lawyers Lerato Mashilane asked for a postponement.

“My client doesn’t have any information at her disposal to actually prepare herself to stand before this arbitration.”

However, Moseneke questioned Mashilane's request for a postponement, as his client was subpoenaed on 2 November and knew 18 days ago that she would need to give evidence.

“Why should all of us adjourn when you have the obvious duty to consult with your client at your own time?”