UPDATE: Court rules health official must testify at Esidimeni hearing

Suspended Gauteng Health head of department Barney Selebano at the Johannesburg High Court. Photo: Getrude Makhafola/ANA

JOHANNESBURG - The Johannesburg High Court on Monday dismissed an application by suspended Gauteng Health head of department Barney Selebano to set aside a subpoena for him to testify at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing

Selebano tried to appeal the court ruling immediately afterwards but that was denied. He will now have to testify at the hearing on Tuesday. 

The hearing, led by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, is probing the deaths of 143 mentally ill patients. 

The patients died after the Gauteng Health Department transferred them from the private Life Esidimeni facilities to unregistered NGOs.

In February, Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba’s found Selebano was guilty of ”gross misconduct and incompetence” as one of the officials in charge of the transferring the patients. 

READ: Another health official tries to avoid Esidimeni hearing

Makgoba further recommended his conduct be reported to the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).

In November, Selebano's attempt to have Makgoba’s findings set aside at an independent ad hoc tribunal failed.

Selebano’s boss, Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned in the wake of Makgoba’s damning report.

Mahlangu is due to give her side of the story at the arbitration in January next year.


- Additional reporting by ANA




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