Manamela back in Life Esidimeni hot seat!


THE Life Esidimeni Inquest is expected to resume on Monday, 30 January, in the North Gauteng High Court through a virtual sitting.

The proceedings will resume with the cross-examination of Dr Makgabo Manamela, who was the director of mental health at the Gauteng Department of Health at the time of the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Manamela’s evidence is expected to be followed by former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, who will also take the witness stand.

The court must determine whether anyone should be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 mental health patients who died during the Marathon Project.

Life Esidimeni mental health patients were transferred from Life Esidimeni facilities to non-government organisations that were later found ill-equipped, some unlicensed and did not meet the criteria.

The patients succumbed to hunger, dehydration and negligence.

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Manamela has since testified that she is not responsible for the deaths. She insisted that her staff checked on the patients’ well-being after the transfer, even after deaths had been reported.

Manamela said they were acting on the instructions of Mahlangu and threatened them to leave their department if they couldn’t move patients within the allocated period.

Manamela said they worked under pressure, and it was impractical to do so based on the low number of available beds.

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