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Mahlangu expected back on witness stand for Esidimeni hearings

Qedani Mahlangu is expected to arrive to an angry group of family members who say they want her to tell them exactly why their loved ones were moved to illegal NGOs.

Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu gives testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing in Johannesburg on 22 January 2018. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu is expected back on the witness stand at the Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown on Wednesday morning for day two of her testimony.

Mahlangu has told the hearings that the decision to terminate the department's contract with Life Esidimeni was not hers alone, insisting Premier David Makhura was aware of the plan.

At least 143 psychiatric patients died after being transferred to illegal NGOs.

Mahlangu is expected to arrive to an angry group of family members who say they want her to tell them exactly why their loved ones were moved to illegal NGOs, where they died of hunger and dehydration.

In her testimony, Mahlangu said that the department's former HOD, Dr Barney Selebano, and director of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela were the ones who lied to her and Makhura about the plans for the project.

She also admitted that it could've been handled better.

Before proceedings adjourned on Monday, retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke asked the former Health MEC to prepare an answer on why she resigned.

“Why did you assume the political responsibility to resign? I want to understand what is the accountability you have accepted.”

The former MEC resigned a day before the Health Ombudsman released his damning report into the circumstances around the patients' deaths.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)