Suspended warrant of arrest to be issued for Makgabo Manamela

Gauteng's suspended mental health director was due to continue testifying at the Life Esidimeni hearings but called in sick at the last minute.

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 decided that a suspended warrant of arrest will be issued against Doctor Makgabo Manamela.

Gauteng's suspended mental health director was due to continue testifying at the Life Esidimeni hearings but called in sick at the last minute.

She was among the senior officials who signed off on the decision to terminate the contract with the Life Esidimeni group, which led to the deaths of 143 psychiatric patients in Gauteng.

WATCH: Esidimeni: Deputy nursing manager admits things were done unlawfully

She was asked tough questions on Monday after attempting to have her testimony postponed for a month.

Manamela’s lawyer says she has been booked off by a doctor and will be available to continue testifying on Thursday.

Moseneke says the warrant for her arrest will come into effect on that day if she fails to appear before him.

LISTEN: Moseneke: Esidimeni tragedy comparable to Steve Biko treatment, death

Her lawyer, Lerato Mashilane, says her medical certificate will be made available by close of business.

“The instruction is that the client will be here on Thursday and a medical certificate to that regard will be given before this arbitration.”

Earlier, family members of those who died sang outside the venue. They say Manamela is disrespecting them.

Some family members even started to cry, saying they are growing increasingly frustrated.

Meanwhile, Andrew Peterson, whose uncle survived the tragedy, is testifying today.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)