Suspended Gauteng health department head resigns

Johannesburg – The suspended head of the Gauteng department of health, Dr Barney Selebano, has resigned.

Gauteng health spokesperson Lesemang Matuka confirmed to News24 on Tuesday that Selebano submitted his resignation letter.

"Dr T.E. (Barney) Selebano resigned with immediate effect yesterday, 15th January 2018," Matuka said.

A senior Gauteng government official told News24 that since all head of department appointments are done by the premier, Gauteng Premier David Makhura is still considering Selebano's letter of resignation.

When contacted by News24 on Tuesday, Selebano said he could not immediately confirm his resignation as he was in a meeting.

Selebano was suspended in February last year.

In December, Selebano testified at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Johannesburg.

Selebano said he took responsibility for the "regrettable" deaths of more than 140 mentally ill patients who died when they were moved to different ill-equipped non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across the province.

- Read more: We did things terribly wrong' - suspended head of Gauteng health 

He said he "didn't fathom that such a tragedy could take place", conceding that his department did not follow advice.

"We did things wrong by not heeding to advice, by not listening to other people," he said.

"I take accountability. It happened under my watch. There is no way that, if you are a leader and something happens, and then you suddenly want to walk away from it," he said.