Suspended Gauteng mental health director Dr Makgabo Manamela called in sick instead of returning to the Life Esidimeni arbitration on Tuesday. It was another blow to the families of the 143 patients who died. By GREG NICOLSON.
Manamela's performance at the arbitration in Johannesburg on Monday was dismal. On Tuesday morning her advocate, Lerato Mashilane, told Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke she had fallen sick and would not be able to attend the day's hearing.
Mashilane said the suspended director had been prepared to attend the arbitration on Tuesday but she had suddenly come down with an illness and needed to consult a doctor. Later, he said a doctor advised Manamela to only return on Thursday. Mashilane said he would provide a medical certificate by the end of the day.
Manamela was the first of three top Gauteng health officials to appear at the arbitration and is accused of being responsible for the plan to move patients out of Life Esidimeni into unsuitable NGOs. She refused on Monday to take responsibility for the disaster and regularly contradicted herself, particularly on her claims that the department had an adequate plan in place and had vetted the NGOs before she signed their...