Former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has refused to take sole responsibility for the termination of the Life Esidimeni contract saying it was not her decision to do so but rather that of the “collective”.
“To say that the decision to terminate the contract was mine would be to mislead the public, in government there is no individual decision, its a collective decision,” Mahlangu told Justice Dikgang Moseneke at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing in Parktown, Johannesburg on Monday.
Her testimony contradicts that of officials who said they were instructed to implement the project who said they were told that it was an instruction from “above”.
The former MEC said the decision was made by her, including the former head of mental health care services Makgabo Manamela and former Head of Department Barney Selebano, among other officials.
Mahlangu consistently told the tribunal that senior officials, including Manamela and Selebano, withheld information from her.
She said she had no reason to suspect that she was being misled, as she trusted the officials.
Mahlangu was asked why she didn’t stop the project when she found out that 68 patients have already perished.
She insisted that she only got to know of many problems with the project via the media and that’s when she started to act.
“First of all, I will never turn a blind eye to something that will put a patient in harm.”
Mahlangu will continue her testimony after lunch.