JOHANNESBURG - Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu referred on Monday to her training in detonating grenades and dismantling AK47s.
Families attending the Esidimeni hearings, as well as people watching or listening to her testimony, were left perplexed as to the relevance of the comment to the hearing.
Qedani is testifying at the hearing into the deaths of 143 mentally ill patients after they were moved from the Life Esidimeni hospital to facilities run by non-governmental organisations, most of them unlicensed.
LIVE VIDEO AND BLOG: Mahlangu apologises to Esidimeni victims' families
She said that as an activist she was trained to hold/detonate a grenade and disarm an AK47 "and all that".
Some of the people present at hearing responded volubly to this, at which point Justice Dikgang Moseneke stopped Mahlangu and instructed the audience not to shout at her.
There was no further mention of her arms training, except on Twitter:
She was about to give us something in that regard but then Moseneke interjected to calm family members, I also wanted to know how was that relevant. #QedaniMahlangu #LifeEsidimeni https://t.co/Xc1Z9zX3wD— #RememberMarikana (@LiberalsAreNaiv) January 22, 2018
When #QedaniMahlangu is talking about AK47's and grenades at the arbitration of #LifeEsidimeni..... I thought she is there to take accountability and answer the panels questions.---- pic.twitter.com/XPObwW1Sft— Khumo Kotane (@KhumoKotane) January 22, 2018