South Africa: Suspended Gauteng Director of Mental Health Resigns

Dr Makgabo Manamela at the Life Esidimeni hearings.

Suspended Gauteng director of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela has resigned. Deputy Director General for provincial communication services Thabo Masebe confirmed that Manamela's resignation was received on Wednesday afternoon.

She resigned with immediate effect."The resignation simply means she is no longer an employee of [the] provincial government, therefore we will not proceed with a disciplinary hearing against her," he said."However, any other investigations by State institutions and law enforcement agencies will proceed independently. If and when they decide that any action should be taken against any of the officials, they will make such decision and can institute whatever action they deem fit."

Manamela, during the Life Esidimeni arbitration, conceded that she had made an error when she issued a licence to Kalafong House to accommodate patients who were intended for transfer from Life Esidimeni. She also admitted that she issued a licence to Anchor Home without compensation.


Over 140 mentally ill patients died when they were moved to various unlicensed NGOs across the province after the health department cancelled a contract with Life Esidimeni to save money.

Manamela was also, among others, accused of giving permission for patients to be transferred to an NGO without a licence.

A report by the Health Ombudsman found that Manamela had no basis for issuing licences to non-compliant NGOs.

On Tuesday, suspended head of the Gauteng department of health, Dr Barney Selebano, resigned with immediate effect.

A senior Gauteng official had told News24 that since all head of department appointments are done by the premier, Gauteng Premier David Makhura is still considering Selebano's letter of resignation. Selebano was suspended in February last year. In December, he testified at the hearings and said he took responsibility for the "regrettable" deaths of the patients who died when they were moved to different ill-equipped non-governmental organisations across the province. He said he "didn't fathom that such a tragedy could take place", conceding that his department did not follow advice.

Source: News24

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