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Manamela apologises to families of Life Esidimeni patients

Doctor Makgabo Manamela was involved in the decision to move Life Esidimeni patients to illegal and ill-equipped NGOs which lead to the deaths of 143 mentally ill people.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng's suspended head of mental health services has apologised to the families of Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients, saying she acknowledges and regrets the wrongs that happened during the deadly project.

Doctor Makgabo Manamela has been testifying for a fourth day at the hearings in Parktown, Johannesburg.

She was involved in the decision to move Esidimeni patients to illegal and ill-equipped NGOs which lead to the deaths of 143 mentally ill people.

Doctor Manamela was in charge of protecting the rights of mentally ill people living in Gauteng.

She was also responsible for the planning of the Esidimeni project, which she says she was compelled to do, because disgraced former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and suspended HOD Doctor Barney Selebano, had already decided that the contract with the Life Esidimeni group must come to an end.

Manamela also signed licenses which gave NGO owners the authority to take patients even though they were ill-equipped.

Added to this, it has been proven on Monday that her signing these documents was in fact unlawful.

Manamela says she is saddened by the deaths.

“To the family members, I regret that their loved ones passed and I’m saddened.”

A disciplinary hearing against Manamela by the Gauteng Health Department is expected to start next Thursday.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)