Moseneke encourages suspended health head to be honest

2017-12-07 17:38
Suspended former health head Barney Selebano at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown, Johannesburg on Thursday. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

Suspended former health head Barney Selebano at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown, Johannesburg on Thursday. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

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Johannesburg – Suspended head of Gauteng health Barney Selebano endured a third day of grilling at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing, during which contradictions in his testimony were exposed.

It became apparent that Selebano had signed a plan on Life Esidimeni, compiled by former provincial head of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela, in October 2016 - and not in October 2015, as he had previously testified.

Legal Aid advocate Lilla Crous poked holes in Selebano’s testimony.

Previously, Selebano said the notice of termination of the Life Esidimeni contract was sent on September 29, 2015, under the instruction of the former health MEC and with the knowledge of the premier. Both he and Levy Mosenogi signed off on the plan in October 2015, he said previously.

READ: 'We did things terribly wrong' - suspended head of Gauteng health

But on Thursday, Crous highlighted that Mosenogi could not have been appointed project manager in October 2015, because he was only approached for appointment by health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, in November 2015.

Mosenogi was formally appointed project manager in December 2015 and therefore Selebano’s submission, that the plan had been signed in October 2015, was wrong. 

This means that Selebano signed the plan to move the patients almost a year later, when more than 80 patients had already died. 

He testified on Wednesday that he only knew of less than 40 patient deaths at the time.

Selebano admitted his error and took responsibility for it. 

The disgraced head’s testimony in Parktown, Johannesburg on Thursday was riddled with contradictions, prompting Justice Dikgang Moseneke to urge him to be more truthful.

Moseneke reminded Selebano of the danger of perjury, discouraging him from concocting events to people who needed closure and answers about their loved ones.

'Contradicting evidence'

"You went down a path and denied for a long time, and your affidavit has been put to you which contradicts your evidence under oath, head-on," he said.

Selebano maintained that the premier of Gauteng, David Makhura, knew about the plan to move more than 1 500 patients from Life Esidimeni to various incapable NGOs after the termination of the contract.

"The government - I mean Gauteng government - knew about the decision, and this was the decision of the department of health - politically led by MEC Qedani and administratively led by myself," he said.

The Gauteng provincial legislature has repeatedly denied this. 

Makhura has released a statement in which he said the tragedy could have been avoided and that it has exposed deep problems and failures within the provincial health system and government.

Read more on:    life esidimeni  |  dikgang moseneke  |  barney selebano  |  david makhura  |  healthcare  |  health

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