Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu owes more than R50,000 for security upgrades to her Bedfordview house. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Johannesburg - Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu will finally appear before the Life Esidimeni hearing in January 2018, it was confirmed on Friday.

She had been subpoenaed to appear before the arbitration hearing in December but it emerged that tracing her to serve the subpoena had been a challenge. 

''The only difficulty is on her whereabouts ... her attorneys have been requested to provide her formal address to ensure delivery of the subpoena," an attorney for the State Tebogo Hutamo had previously told the arbitration.

Mahlangu's lawyers, making a brief appearance at the Life Esidimeni hearing, said the MEC was willing to appear between 22-26 January 2018.

This announcement was met with anger from the families, who demanded to know why she was unable to appear at an earlier date. 

Finally, after a bit of back and forth, the date was set and confirmed by all parties.

Her lawyers also spoke on the suspension, saying it was "unlawful and wrong" and confirmed that this was being challenged. 

It had been reported that Mahlangu was suspended from her studies at the Global Banking School over the "severity of allegations" levelled against her. 

Mahlangu meanwhile, also released a statement from London on Friday saying that she noted with concern "several media reports which are regularly surfacing in the country about me, are false and without basis in fact". 
"First, it is completely false that I refuse or ran away or disappeared from the Esidimeni Arbitration. From the beginning, in line with my conscience, I have made it clear to all authorities involved that I'm available to appear before the Arbitration. As such, I need no subpoena," she said.

"Secondly, anyone who knows how universities work, know that planning and applying for study, happens long before one can travel to the institution concerned, and therefore the suggestion that I used my studies to escape accountability is also false.

"Thirdly, it is clear that these inaccurate reports seek to suggest that I'm not committed to principles of accountability, transparency and openness. As such, the reports are written in such a way that as a supposed "fugitive" of sorts, I must be subjected to an arbitration of public opinion, ahead of the formal Arbitration Process. Nobody else has been subjected to this kind of treatment. 

"Fourthly, I wish to reserve my rights to comment on the falsehoods around my studies except to say, these reports say a lot about our quality of journalism in our country than Qedani. 

"Finally, I hope journalists and media houses report in such a manner that shows respect and sensitivity to the Arbitration Process so that the dignity of the families and the victims is upheld at all times.

"I have always maintained that I'm willing to appear before the arbitration. I have confidence in the process."

The hearing continues and is currently hearing testimony from Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba on the death toll.