Dr Makgabo Manamela's testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration confirmed one overarching conclusion: neither she nor the Gauteng department of health cared about the voices of citizens. She still doesn't. By GREG NICOLSON.
In 1997, Zola Skweyiya wrote the forword to the White Paper on Transforming Public Service Delivery. "I want to turn words into action. I want the needs of our people to come first and be satisfied. I want people to view and experience the public service in an entirely new way," he said. The white paper introduced the civil service to one of its defining principles - Batho Pele. People first.
Testifying over four days at the Life Esidimeni arbitration, Gauteng's suspended director of mental health, Dr Makgabo Manamela, was an example of the disdain some officials and their departments have for citizens and what happens when they put people last. They are denied the dignity and services they're entitled to. They die.
Manamela, who the health ombudsman said was one of three Gauteng department of health leaders responsible for transferring around 1,700 patients out of Life Esidimeni and into NGOs in 2016, tried to postpone her testimony last week, claiming she needed all the documents before...