South Africa: Life Esidimeni - Official Throws Dr Manamela Under the Bus


The Life Esidimeni arbitration resumed on Thursday with yet another Gauteng department of health official saying she was only following orders in the project that left 143 mental health care users dead. By GREG NICOLSON.

Overseeing NGOs is a core function of Hannah Jacobus' job, but the Gauteng deputy director of mental health said she was only following instructions when she participated in the programme to send psychiatric patients from Life Esidimeni to the deadly NGOs where many of the 143 died.

Jacobus repeatedly blamed her boss, the province's former mental health care director, Dr Makgabo Manamela for ignoring warnings and instructing officials to act illegally in order to move the patients into NGOs as quickly as possible, even if they did not have legitimate licences or the resources to care for patients with chronic mental illnesses.

The arbitration, led by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, entered its final phase on Thursday and will soon hear from former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, Premier David Makhura and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Senior officials who have appeared have tried to avoid taking responsibility for the deaths and have passed blame on to their colleagues or superiors.

Jacobus implicated Manamela, who testified...

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