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Life Esidimeni: Manamela admits SLAs not signed with NGOs

Makgabo Manamela began testifying at the arbitration hearings on Monday after a three-hour attempt to have her testimony postponed.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Former director of mental health services in Gauteng Dr Makgabo Manamela has admitted that she allowed NGOs to take psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni facilities without having made the owners sign service level agreements.

Manamela began testifying at the arbitration hearings on Monday after a three-hour attempt to have her testimony postponed, but retired deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, who is leading the arbitration hearings, dismissed the application.

She’s been implicated by several witnesses who said that she pushed illegal activity during the execution of the disastrous marathon project that left at least 143 patients dead.

Without a service level agreement, NGOs could not be paid and could not buy food as well as other essential needs for the mentally ill patients they took from Esidimeni facilities.

Manamela admitted to this as she told Moseneke that she tried everything she could.

She was speaking during her evidence in chief by evidence leader advocate Ntlantla Yina.

“We call them to a meeting to explain how the SLA (service level agreements) must be signed.”

Manamela’s testimony is expected to continue on Tuesday morning.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)