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Esidimeni tragedy: Dept appoints lawyer to lead disciplinary inquiry

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JOHANNESBURG – The Gauteng Health Department says it has appointed an attorney to lead the disciplinary inquiry against eight employees who were implicated in the Life Esidimeni tragedy that resulted in the deaths of over 100 mentally ill patients.

Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapu Makgoba’s report found that the transfer of the patients from the institution to unlicensed NGOs was both negligent and reckless.

While the disciplinary process into suspended department HOD Barney Selebano and mental health director Makgabo Manamela have stalled because of their appeal on the report, the hearings of the others have moved into the next phase.

Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says the hearings will uncover a lot of unanswered questions.

“We need to get the answers and where I am, I still do not understand how it was possible that the situation could occur.”

She says they are forced to pay the suspended employees because it is their right.

"We’d have preferred that nobody is suspended, especially with pay, but we have to follow a process and we’ve not delayed in following those processes."

A date into when the eight will face their hearings is yet to be set.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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