Dr Tiego Selebano, the suspended head of the Gauteng health department, has approached the high court to set aside the subpoena ordering him to appear at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings.
Selebano, along with the former MEC for Health Qedani Mahlangu, and Dr Makgabo Manamela, the suspended director of the mental health review board, were identified as three key witnesses to testify over what led to the deaths of at least 141 mental health patients who were moved from Life Esidimeni to a number of unlicensed NGOs.
The state's advocate, Tebogo Hutamo, informed the hearings on Wednesday that Selebano approached the high court to urgently set aside the subpoena which requested him to appear before the hearings in early December.
Advocate Dirk Groenewald, who was appearing on behalf of three families, said Selebano was still an employee of the Gauteng department of health and would therefore have to appear at the hearings if his employer requested him to do so.
Groenewald said Selebano would be liable to further disciplinary action from his employer if he failed to do so.
More to follow.