2 November 2017

South Africa: Life Esidimeni Official Loses Appeal

The health ombudsman has dismissed the appeal of one of the Gauteng health officials implicated in the deaths of at least 141 Life Esidimeni patients.

Dr Makgabo Manamela, the suspended director of the Gauteng mental health review board, was one of the officials implicated in the transfer of Life Esidimeni patients to a number of unlicensed NGOs.

Since the move, at least 141 patients died and 59 are still unaccounted for.

The health ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, in his report in February on the circumstances surrounding the failed transfer, identified Manamela as one of the officials who pushed for the move to go through.

Makgoba's recommendations included that disciplinary action must be taken against Manamela for gross misconduct and incompetence, and that she be reported to the South African Nursing Council (SANC) for remedial action with regard to her professional and ethical conduct.

Manamela appealed Makgoba's findings.

Manamela's role in the transfer of patients has come to light since the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings started more than three weeks ago.

A number of people who testified at the hearings, including former NGO owners, the manager of the programme, and families of patients, told how Manamela pushed ahead with the failed project despite warnings that it won't work.

Levy Mosenogi, the manager of the Gauteng mental health marathon project which saw the patients transferred out of Life Esidimeni, told the hearings last month that he had warned his superiors, yet they pushed ahead.

"The challenges were always pointed out," he said.

"I don't know if it was deliberate, but I was kept out of the picture," Mosenogi said.

Arbitration chair, former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke insisted last month that the hearings won't end until Manamela, former Gauteng MEC for health Qedani Mahlangu, and suspended head of department Dr Tiego Selebano appeared at the hearings.

"My position is that those three witnesses will come before us," Moseneke said at the time.

"Let me make it clear, these proceedings will not end until those witnesses... come before this hearing. If they are not here, all three of them, these hearings won't end," he said.

Source: News24

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