Selebano admits to negligence on Esidimeni deaths

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Suspended head of the Gauteng Health Department, Dr Barney Selebano, has admitted that the 143 mentally-ill patients died due to negligence.

Selebano also says government was planning to spend more money on building more facilities for mentally-ill patients.

Section 27’s advocate Adila Hassim asked him why government had grand plans to spend hundreds of millions of rands on new institutions, while claiming the Life Esidimeni contract was terminated as a cost-saving measure.

Hassim said: “Why then in the face of all that, why are you terminating the project that is clearly needed and at the same time planning to spend hundreds of millions and building extra beds.”

To which Selebano responded: “You’re saying at the same time and I’m saying it was not at the same time. Government budgets in cycles, what you plan now, you won’t get it next month.”

Selebano is being cross-examined on his second day on the stand at the arbitration hearings in Parktown, Johannesburg.