Suspended director of mental health, Dr Makgabo Manamela, told the Esidemeni hearing that the health department had assessed all the NGOs.

Manamela’s testimony comes after retired justice Dikgang Moseneke, who leads the arbitration hearing, dismissed the application for postponement requested by her lawyer yesterday morning in Parktown, Joburg.

Dr Makgabo Manamela

Manamela’s lawyer, Lerato Mashilane, said Manamela needed four weeks to prepare because she didn’t have her laptop containing information relating to the matter.

She said a district team was sent to NGOs to inspect them and file a report. Thereafter, she issued licences.

Mashilane said Manamela’s laptop was confiscated by the Gauteng Health Department following her suspension.

“My client was implicated by some witnesses. Any negative thing against her might lead to her facing criminal prosecution,” said Mashilane.

Moseneke ruled that Manamela had enough time to prepare because she knew long before her subpoena was issued on 2 November that attempts were made to get her to attend the hearing. Manamela testified that the NGO referred to as the Life Esidimeni Marathon Project was not her idea. She just implemented it with her task team.

“We made it clear to the NGOs that we were not forcing them to take in patients if they couldn’t expand.”

In her testimony Manamela dismissed most of the allegations made against her by witnesses.

She admitted knowing that Siyabadinga operated illegally.

Her testimony continues today.

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