Deputy nursing manager Dikeledi Manaka delivered her testimony on Wednesday, as the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing continues.
Manaka who works for Cullinan Care and Rehab Centre in Pretoria admitted that she and her colleagues had compromised the well-being of the patients and gone against their oaths to agree to take care of patients without authorisation.
“The Cullinan Care and Rehab Centre caters for intellectually disabled people and not for those suffering chronic mental health illnesses,” she said.
Manaka revealed that the facility was licensed to only care for intellectually disabled people, which is why the health ombudsman found that it was operating illegally.
She said the centre discharged some of its own patients and left them in the care of ill-equipped NGOs while they were making enough space for those who were moved from Esidimeni.
According to Manaka, she was dissatisfied with the conditions of the NGOs that cared for the discharged patients, however, she did nothing about it.
“My colleagues and I couldn’t have done anything because we were under pressure from the officials at the Gauteng Health Department, who ordered us to sign discharge forms without authorisation.”