Suspended Gauteng Health Head of Department Dr Barney Selebano has lost his appeal against the Health Ombudman’s Esidimeni Report, paving the way for a disciplinary process to be taken against him for his role in the Esidimeni tragedy.
This was disclosed today by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in an oral reply to my questions at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.
His appeal, as well as that of the suspended Chief Director of Mental Health Makgabo Manamela, was turned down by a tribunal headed by Judge Bernard Ngoepe.
This paves the way for them to be charged in a disciplinary process that will probably lead to their dismissal.
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.
Ramokgopa also disclosed that one official was successful in his appeal against being mentioned in the Ombudsman’s report, and the others had received final written warnings. They had also been reported to the relevant professional bodies.
I asked Ramokgopa if Chief Director Planning Levi Mosenogi would also face disciplinary action as he had a key role in the transfer of the Esidimeni patients as disclosed in his evidence at the Esidimeni arbitration hearings.
She said that senior management were reviewing his evidence and would take a decision on whether he should face disciplinary action.
My view is that all officials implicated in the Esidimeni disaster should be disciplined, not only those specifically mentioned in the Ombudsman’s report.
The net of implicated officials is widening as more evidence becomes available, and justice should be seen to be done so that all those involved are held accountable.