Dr Makgabo Manamela. FILE PHOTO: ANA Reporter

Johannesburg - Suspended Gauteng director of mental health Dr Makgabo Manamela, who was part of the officials who transferred Life Esidimeni patients to unlicensed non-governmental organisation (NGOs), has resigned. 

At least 143 patients died after being placed in 2017. Most patients died largely to starvation and severe neglect at ill-equipped and often unlicensed NGOs, while a further 59 are still unaccounted for. 

Her resignation comes a day after the suspended Gauteng head of mental health department Dr Barney Selebano resigned on Tuesday.

On her first day at the arbitration in November, Manamela insisted that she wants to be furnished with relevant documents that she will peruse for at least a month before testifying. Her application was denied by chairperson of the  arbitration hearings retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke citing that a witness is not entitled to such documents.

From day one, Manamela kept shifting blame about the botched relocation of patients and in all her answers, she never implicated herself as the decision maker, and constantly referred any decision as a team effort or made by her superiors. 

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During her time on the stand, she fingered former Gauteng health Member of the Executive Council (MEC), Qedani Mahlangu, and Selebano, as the people who gave her the instructions. She said that her job was to act on decisions which were already made. 

During the project, Manamela was in charge of issuing licenses to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and according to her, only one NGO was operating without a license. However, it was revealed that some of the NGOs were unlicensed.

Some of her duties involved her going to the facilities and inspect whether the NGO fitted the purpose to cater for mentally ill patients. Out of 27 centres she went to only four.

African News Agency/ANA