Suspended Gauteng health head Dr Tiego "Barney" Selebano faced tough questions at the Life Esidimeni arbitration on Wednesday for allowing 143 psychiatric patients to die under his watch. By GREG NICOLSON.
Advocate Adila Hassim had to yell to be heard when the sound of the rain became too much. She had been cross-examining Dr Tiego "Barney" Selebano since Tuesday afternoon and while he'd admitted that the plan to move around 1,700 patients out of Life Esidimeni and into NGOs and community care was wrong, his regrets seemed to be calculated not to incriminate himself.
"What I would like to put to you, Dr Selebano, is that you yourself were not performing your duties diligently," Hassim yelled over the rain. Selebano, who was almost inaudible, shot back: "It's your opinion, counsel... I did my best. You could not have done any better."
The suspended Gauteng health head - who approved the Life Esidimeni plan, ignored repeated warnings, and failed to monitor patients after they were moved - apologised. "God willing", he said, he wished he'd seen the signs before 143 people died. "Let's not bring God into it," said the arbitrator, former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. "God would never will...