The Gauteng government has confirmed that the suspended head of the provincial Health department, Barney Selebano, has tendered his resignation letter.

Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe says Selebano gave the letter to Gauteng premier David Makhura.

Selebano was suspended in the wake of the Life Esidimeni tragedy in which at least 143 mentally-ill patients died. This was after they were transferred from Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped and unlicensed NGOs.

However, it is not clear if Selebano’s resignation is connected to the Esidimeni tragedy.

Masebe says Makhura will make an official announcement soon.

“Well, Heads of Departments in the provincial departments are employed by the Premier. And at the time when they decide to terminate their employment services with the provincial government, they will make their indications to the Premier. The Premier is currently dealing with the matter… as soon as there’s a decision, he will make a public statement,” says Masebe.

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader in the province, Jack Bloom says Selebano must face criminal charges for his role in the deaths of the Life Esidimeni patients despite him tendering his resignation.

“I’m pleased that he’s no longer with the department, but I think that charges should be laid in connection with the Esidimeni matter. I think that resignation or dismissal in the case of all those implicated in the Esidimeni tragedy can’t be the end of the matter. Criminal charges need to be laid; it needs to go further than dismissal or resignation. And I think we need to see justice for the victims of the Esidimeni disaster.”

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