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Esidimeni: Selebano admits to backdating licence for NGO

The shocking detail was revealed during Dr Barney Selebano’s testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings on Thursday.

A screengrab of suspended Gauteng Health HOD Dr Barney Selebano at the Esidimeni hearing on 6 December 2017.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng's suspended Health HOD Dr Barney Selebano has admitted to backdating a license for an NGO that he had already shut down and moved psychiatric patients from.

The shocking details were revealed during Selebano’s testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings on Wednesday.

At least 143 mentally ill patients died after being moved from Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGOs last year.

Selebano said that the Precious Angels NGO, where at least 20 patients died, was shut down around August or September last year.

However, after being pressed by Section 27’s Adila Hassim and retired deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Selebano admitted to signing a licence in November last year but dating it back to April.

Hassim said: “It’s called cooking the books.”

Selebano insisted that he had not signed the documents for cynical reasons.

'HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS'

Selebano has told the Esidimeni arbitration hearings that government systems create hostile environments for employees to speak up when they disagree with decisions.

Selebano says government systems are different to other “normal” employment environments, adding while he is the head of department, he still had to report to the political head who was Qedani Mahlangu at the time.

Selebano told Moseneke it was difficult to disagree with Mahlangu.

"Why didn't you go into the MEC's office and say 'we can't do this,'" Moseneke asked.

“There was no space to differ sharply,” Selebano explained.

The former MEC is currently in the United Kingdom to further her studies.

She’s expected to appear before Moseneke next month.

Selebano's testimony is expected to continue on Thursday.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)