The suspended head of the Gauteng Health Department, Dr Barney Selebano, has resigned in the wake of the Esidimeni tragedy that claimed more than 140 lives. News24 reports that Gauteng Health spokesperson Lesemang Matuka has confirmed that Selebano submitted his resignation letter. “Dr TE (Barney) Selebano resigned with immediate effect yesterday, 15th January 2018,” Matuka said.
A senior Gauteng government official is quoted in the report as saying that since all head of department appointments are done by the premier, Gauteng Premier David Makhura is still considering Selebano’s letter of resignation.
The report says when contacted, Selebano said he could not immediately confirm his resignation as he was in a meeting.
Selebano was suspended in February last year. In December, Selebano testified at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Johannesburg. Selebano said he took responsibility for the “regrettable” deaths of more than 140 mentally ill patients who died when they were moved to different ill-equipped non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across the province.
He said he “didn’t fathom that such a tragedy could take place”, conceding that his department did not follow advice. “We did things wrong by not heeding to advice, by not listening to other people,” he said.
“I take accountability. It happened under my watch. There is no way that, if you are a leader and something happens, and then you suddenly want to walk away from it,” he said.News24 report