The Life Esidimeni public hearing into the deaths of 143 psychiatric patients who died at unlicensed NGOs in Gauteng will reconvene in January. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha / ANA

Johannesburg - The Life Esidimeni public hearing into the deaths of 143 psychiatric patients who died at unlicensed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Gauteng will resume in January. 

The hearing, chaired by retired Justice Dikgang Moseneke will reconvene on January 18. 

Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, widely blamed for the tragedy, was subpoenaed to testify and would appear before the arbitration between January 22 and 26. 

She resigned in February in the wake of the damning report on the marathon project by Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba. 

Read more:#LifeEsidimeni: 'You have every right to not forgive us'

The last testimony was heard from suspended HOD Barney Selebano this week, whose attempts to evade giving testimony failed after he approached the high court to block his subpoena. 

He had earlier denied being responsible as the health boss and said the botched project was as a result of a ''collective responsibility'' in the department. 

Also read: #LifeEsidimeni tragedy shameful, says premier

On Friday, Selebano admitted the department erred when it ignored warnings from families and psychiatrists within the department about the fatal Life Esidimeni project. 

He brought families to tears when he asked for forgiveness and that they allow him into their homes so he can personally apologise. 

Makgoba was one of the officials fingered in Makgoba’s report on the botched removal of former Life Esidimeni patients. 

Makgoba found that Selebano committed ''gross misconduct and incompetence'' as one of the officials in charge of the transfer of mental patients from Life Esidimeni NGOs. Makgoba further recommended his conduct be reported to the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).