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Manamela in hot seat at Esidimeni hearing

Earlier on Monday, Makgabo Manamela tried to apply for a postponement but her application was denied by retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng's former director of mental health Doctor Makgabo Manamela is in the hot seat at the Esidimeni hearings where she's facing tough questions about her role in the deaths of 143 psychiatric patients.

Earlier on Monday, Manamela tried to apply for a postponement but her application was denied by retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.

More than 1,700 mentally ill people were moved to unlicensed NGOs last year by the Gauteng Health Department.

The much-anticipated testimony of Doctor Manamela has finally begun, with family members showing relief as Justice Moseneke ordered her to the witness stand immediately.

“I’ve exercised immense patience this morning listening to submissions which have been made to support the application and I have again looked at the affidavit which has been filed in support of the application. In my view the application is baseless.”

Manamela has been identified by several witnesses as the health executive who pushed illegal activity during the execution of the disastrous project.

She allegedly signed off on licenses for NGOs which were found to have been illegal by the health ombudsman.

She explaining her part and why she authorised the NGOs to run unlawfully.

Manamela has admitted that the department allowed some NGOs to take patients from Esidimeni, without relevant licenses to operate.

NGO owners say she issued them with the licenses, that were found to have been illegal by the health ombudsman.

Manamela was asked questions by evidence leader Ntlantla Yina.

“The licenses that were sent to me. I will assure you, chief justice, that the people assessed the place and then they developed that request for the licenses. And then my office, the NGO manager, did the licenses.”