Appeal against the health ombudsman dismissed: Esidimeni

Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke during the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing at Emoyeni Conference Centre, Parktown on October 10, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo

JOHANNESBURG - Another appeal against the health ombudsman's Esidimeni report was dismissed by an independent ad hoc tribunal.

Dr Barney Selebano's application to have the findings and recommendations overturned failed on Tuesday.

According to the ombudsman, Selebano should be suspended and probed for negligence and gross incompetence after more than 140 mentally ill patients died when the Gauteng Health Department moved them from the private Life Esidimeni healthcare facilities to unregistered NGOs.



Selebano meanwhile approached the courts to fight his subpoena to appear before the arbitration hearings.

There was a rare moment at the Esidimeni Arbitration hearings on Tuesday as families cheered when witness testimony finally came to an end.

READ: Esidimeni: Mahlangu is arrogant, says DA

The head of the South African Society of Psychiatrists, Dr Mvuyiso Talatala fought tooth and nail against the transfer of patients to NGOs.

The state said he should have appealed against such a judgment but Talatala said time would reveal the truth.

"Counsel, I also had an option of knowing that in health, time tells the truth, I did not have to waste the time of the society back to court when I knew in a few months we will know the truth," said Clinical Psychiatrist Dr Mvuyiso Talatala.

"And time showed it beyond question, nearly 25 of the 50 people died at Takalani," responded Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

READ: State fails to have Esidimeni expert witnesses' testimony dismissed

Dr Talatala testified about how government dropped the ball, refusing to take expert advice and giving the courts incorrect information about patients.

"They ignored warnings that were in their system, they also ignored that warning that was outside, I was interviewed by eNCA in July, and journalists were telling me about people dying. And the journalists also went to the MEC," said Dr Talatala.

Dr Talatala said he hopes this process, while difficult, will result in improved patient care.

"It should not be the society versus the government, we should have sat together, come up with a plan of dealing with Life Esidimeni, and we should all be answering on the same side of the table. We should be owning up to what had happened, we should have worked together," said Dr Talatala.

The clinical psychiatrist was the second expert witness to testify before the arbitration hearings.

The South African Drug and Anxiety Group's  Dr Casey Chambers will no longer be testifying. 


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