Doc warned of per­jury

The Citizen (KZN) - - NEWS -

Sus­pended Gaut­eng de­part­ment of health head Dr Bar­ney Sele­bano was yes­ter­day con­fronted with con­tra­dic­tory ev­i­dence about his sign­ing of the ter­mi­na­tion con­tract with Life Esidi­meni for the care of men­tally ill pa­tients in the prov­ince.

On Tues­day, Sele­bano had told the al­ter­na­tive dis­pute res­o­lu­tion com­mit­tee into the botched trans­fers from Life Esidi­meni that he signed the ter­mi­na­tion con­tract with project man­ager Molefi Mosenogi in Oc­to­ber 2015.

How­ever, dur­ing cross-ex­am­i­na­tion yes­ter­day by Ad­vo­cate Lilla Crouse for Le­gal Aid, doc­u­ments were pre­sented to Sele­bano which con­tra­dicted his tes­ti­mony and showed that he signed the con­tract in Oc­to­ber 2016.

Crouse put it to Sele­bano that it was im­pos­si­ble for Mosenogi to have signed the con­tract in 2015 be­cause he was only ap­proached by for­mer Gaut­eng MEC of health Qedani Mahlangu in Novem­ber 2015 and was for­mally ap­pointed in De­cem­ber 2015.

“You signed in Oc­to­ber 2016, not Oc­to­ber 2015 as you have tes­ti­fied at this ar­bi­tra­tion … when 81 peo­ple had al­ready died,” Crouse said.

Sele­bano said this was an er­ror and that he took re­spon­si­bil­ity for it.

Re­tired deputy chief jus­tice Dik­gang Moseneke, who is chair­ing the ar­bi­tra­tion, re­minded Sele­bano that he was un­der oath and com­pelled to tell the truth.

“Lawyers spend a lot of time study­ing af­fi­davits, you can­not de­part from that at will,” Moseneke said. He cau­tioned Sele­bano to avoid giv­ing con­flict­ing state­ments as he might be charged with per­jury.

“I’m not try­ing to ar­gue or re­con­struct … there is a ty­po­graph­i­cal er­ror in the doc­u­ments,” Sele­bano coun­tered.

“It’s im­por­tant for our democ­racy that we in power tell the truth … fam­i­lies need to know how their fam­ily mem­bers died and you can help fam­i­lies get clo­sure,” Moseneke told Sele­bano

“I will not sit here and try to go back and forth. It’s a thing that hap­pened to the fam­i­lies, I also want clo­sure,” Sele­bano replied.

On Wed­nes­day, Sele­bano ad­mit­ted that he was re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of 143 psy­chi­atric pa­tients linked to the botched trans­fers from Life Esidi­meni to NGOs ill-equipped to care for such pa­tients. The move not only af­fected pa­tients and their fam­i­lies, but also led to the loss of 700 jobs, the ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ing heard.

“The un­car­ing at­ti­tude to­wards work­ing peo­ple ties in with the un­car­ing at­ti­tude to­wards the peo­ple you moved,” said Moseneke. Sele­bano in­sisted that the ter­mi­na­tion of Life Esidi­meni was not done with ma­li­cious in­ten­tions.

He re­it­er­ated that it was not his de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate the con­tract but that he was act­ing on in­struc­tions from for­mer MEC Mahlangu.

The hear­ing con­tin­ues. – ANA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.