Health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba at a media conference on the deaths of mentally ill patients transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni. Picture: Jacques Naudé

Johannesburg - Health Ombudsman Dr Malegapuru Makgoba on Tuesday welcomed the dismissal of suspended Gauteng official Dr Barney Selebano's appeal against the recommendations contained in his Life Esidimeni report.

In February, Gauteng premier David Makhura suspended Selebano in the wake of recommendations by Makgoba following the death of 118 psychiatric patients at ill-equipped facilities of various NGOs.

Selebano and former Director of Mental Health Dr Makgabo Manamela then faced disciplinary action, with both of them facing seven and eight charges respectively. 

The two then challenged Makgoba's findings, resulting in their disciplinary cases being put on hold pending the court case. 

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Makgoba's office in a statement welcomed the dismissal of Selebano's appeal by the independent ad hoc tribunal, which is headed by the retired Judge President of the Gauteng High Court Bernard Ngoepe.

Adding to this was the DA's Gauteng shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom, who said this now paved the way for action to be taken against Selebano.

"I am pleased that disciplinary action can now be taken against them as they are currently on precautionary suspension, earning salaries amounting to about R1.5 million since they were suspended in February this year," he said.

The dismissal of Selebano's appeal comes days after reports emerged that the suspended head of Health had filed papers in the Johannesburg High Court challenging a subpoena ordering him to appear before the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing. 

Selebano had been ordered to appear before the hearing next month. 

His application will be heard at the end of November.