Sunday, 14 July, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalLife Esidimeni: arrest warrant for former mental health boss after non-appearance

Life Esidimeni: arrest warrant for former mental health boss after non-appearance

Former head of mental health in Gauteng Makgabo Manamela’s absence from the Life Esidimeni inquest this week has tried the court’s patience, and after not appearing for three consecutive days, Judge Mmonoa Teffo issued a warrant for her arrest, suspended until her medical certificate expires on 14 September.

The inquest’s aim is to determine who and if anyone can be held criminally liable for the deaths of 141 mental health patients moved from Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped NGOs, reports News24.

Manamela did not start testifying on Monday after asking the court for a five-day postponement, which was denied, and on Tuesday, she could not testify because she had a headache and was “having difficulties hearing”, said her lawyer Russel Sibera, who on Wednesday morning, handed a sick note to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria).

Advocate Laurence Hodes, who represents former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, told Teffo this was “a replay of what happened in the arbitration” and that the court was “entitled to issue a warrant of arrest”.

“This witness has done this before. She's manipulating the whole system.”

Sibara said: “This is quite unfair (on Manamela). I am failing to understand where my learned colleague comes from. The media is going to be reporting adversely against my client.”

Teffo said: “We are all concerned that these delays are messing things around… we can't work like this. I’ve seen her sick note, and I don’t want to comment on it. I don’t want to even go there.”

Manamela, Mahlangu and former head of the Health Department Barney Selebano are the last witnesses from whom the inquest will hear.

In earlier evidence, they were implicated as the main officials behind the hurried removal of 2 000 mental healthcare patients from Life Esidimeni facilities to completely inadequate and under-equipped NGOs.

The inquest was adjourned to Monday for Selebano to testify.


News24 article – Life Esidimeni: Warrant of arrest issued, suspended temporarily for former mental health boss (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


SIU sets sights on NGOs that benefited from Life Esidimeni tragedy


Life Esidimeni inquest: ‘He vomited for four weeks and then he starved to death’


Life Esidimeni inquiry: NGO had grown men sleeping in baby cots




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