JOHANNESBURG, The suspended Mental Health Director of South African’s Gauteng Province, Dr Makgabo Manamela, has resigned, one day after the resignation of the Head of the Gauteng Health Department, Dr Barney Selebano.

Dr Manamela was undergoing a disciplinary process after she was charged with gross misconduct for her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy in which 143 mentally ill patients died after they were transferred to unlicensed and ill-equipped non-governmental organizations after they were taken out of facilities operated by healthcare service provider Life Esidimeni, whose contract was terminated in order to cut costs.

I can confirm that Dr Manamela who was the director of mental health has resigned. She was on suspension and undergoing a disciplinary process. Since she is no longer an employee of the Gauteng provincial government we will not be proceeding with the disciplinary hearing, the spokesperson for the Gauteng provincial government, Thabo Masebe, said here Wednesday.

The main South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says Manamela must face criminal charges for her role in the Life Esidimeni tragedy. The party’s Gauteng health shadow Member of the Executive Council (MEC), Jack Bloom, says her resignation is not surprising as she would have been fired anyway after the conclusion of her disciplinary proceedings.

Bloom says justice has not been served by her resigning. I think that is a good thing that she has resigned because she was still being paid well while on suspension. But of course she should also be charged along with other officials and the former MEC for Health for her role in the Esidimeni disaster. I think she saw the writing in the wall. She was going to get fired and now the department can hire a new person in charge of the mental health which is vitally important.

Another leading opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has also welcomed the resignation of Dr Manamela. Acting EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego said: We are elated when incompetent individuals resign on their own. But the resignation is not enough and this is an issue that we are going to take on.

“We know that the State of the Province Address is coming up next month and we are preparing for that in terms of what we think the government should be doing better. This department, health,was given an increase of 1.2 billion Rand (about 97.4 million US dollars), what is happening with all that money? So the government is essentially incompetent. So we are happy that that lady has left, the HOD (Head of Department) should leave, the MEC is gone already and there are many others that should follow.