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Selebano: Esidimeni tragedy gives me sleepless nights

Dr Barney Selebano has conceded that the project was implemented too hastily, and the plans were flawed.

Dr Barney Selebano at the Life Esidimeni hearings on 5 December 2017. Picture: Screengrab/Youtube

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng's suspended health HOD has told the Esidimeni arbitration hearings that he sometimes has sleepless nights when he thinks about the disastrous project.

Dr Barney Selebano has conceded that the project was implemented too hastily and the plans were flawed.

At least 143 mentally ill people died after being moved to ill-equipped non-governmental organisations by the provincial Health Department, allegedly to save costs.

Selebano says he never had the power to stop the Esidimeni project because former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu put pressure on officials to move psychiatric patients to NGOs, which were later found to have been operating unlawfully.

WATCH: Day one: Dr Barney Selebano testifies

Selebano told retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, who is leading the arbitration process, he always wishes he could've seen the danger and stopped the deadly project.

“It’s painful. He implemented it and it happened under my watch. It happened under my watch and hangs around me. You wake up during the night and say ‘why’.”

He is expected to testify for a second day on Wednesday.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)