Health head loses negligence appeal
Tribunal Ombudsman ruled department chief should be probed for his role in Life Esidimeni patient tragedy
● The suspended head of the Gauteng health department, Dr Barney Selebano, has lost his appeal against an ombudsman ruling that he should be investigated for negligence and gross incompetence.
Selebano was in charge of the department when psychiatric patients were moved from Life Esidimeni clinics, causing at least 143 deaths.
Health ombudsman Makgoba Malegapuru investigated the Life Esidimeni closures and his report, released on February 1, suggested that Selebano be suspended and investigated for negligence and/or gross incompetence.
He also suggested that Selebano be reported to the Health Professions Council of SA‚ to investigate revoking his medical licence.
Makgoba’s report into the tragedy accused Selebano of being one of three officials whose “fingerprints were peppered throughout the process”.
In his interview with the ombudsman about the tragedy‚ Selebano repeatedly said he would “take the sword”.
However‚ since then Selebano has appealed against the findings of the report, delaying his own disciplinary hearing.
A tribunal, headed by retired judge Bernard Ngoepe, heard his appeal.
The ombudsman’s office announced yesterday the appeal was dismissed.
In a separate legal process, Selebano has also turned to the Johannesburg High Court to challenge a subpoena for him to testify before arbitration hearings into the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
This will be heard on November 28. One of the arguments in his court papers‚ which were filed last week‚ was that his appeal against the ombudsman’s findings had not yet been finalised.
He also said he might incriminate himself if he testified at the hearings.
In his interview with the ombudsman‚ Selebano repeatedly said he would “take the sword”