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Esidimeni hearing: 'My life & that of my family in danger'

While family members gathered grow increasingly frustrated with her testimony, Gauteng’s suspended head of mental healthcare services Dr Makgabo Manamela says she worries about her and her family’s safety.

A screengrab of Dr Makgabo Manamela testifying at the Esidimeni arbitration hearing on 27 November 2017.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng’s suspended head of mental healthcare services has pleaded for her testimony at the Esidimeni hearings to be considered truthful, telling retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke that she feels her life and that of her family are in danger.

Doctor Makgabo Manamela is testifying for the fourth day in Parktown.

Over 140 psychiatric patients died after the Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Life Esidimeni group and moved patients to ill-equipped NGOs.

While family members gathered grow increasingly frustrated with her testimony, Manamela says she worries about her and her family’s safety.

Manamela was close to tears after Solidarity’s Dirk Groenewald, who represents the families of three people who died, told her she is manipulative.

She's been labelled evasive, defensive and not forthcoming with the truth by other lawyers who have cross-examined her since last week.

Manamela signed the licenses that were issued to 27 NGOs identified by the Gauteng Health Department, authorising the facilities to take in mentally ill patients from Life Esidimeni facilities.

The suspended head of mental health services in Gauteng maintains she was authorised to issue these documents and has used parts of the law to defend her actions.

However, Groenewald quoted the act Manamela has been referring to, proving that her actions were in fact unlawful.

“At least Precious Angeles and Anchor did not have signed service legal agreements at the time when they took in patients and, therefore, I put it to you that those licenses issued to them were unlawful.”

This means Manamela did not have the authority to sign these licenses in the first place and, therefore, she handed out fake documents to the NGOs.

WATCH LIVE: Esidimeni: Manamela continues testimony

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)