Former Gauteng head of health department Dr Tiego Ephraim Selebano told the Life Esidimeni inquest on Wednesday that the non-government organisations (NGO) were registered before the mental health patients were moved.
Mosego House in Krugersdorp, Takalani House in Soweto, Precious Angels in Atteridgeville, and the Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre are some of the institutions where more than 100 patients died due to dehydration, neglect and hunger.
The whereabouts of many other patients who were moved to the NGOs are still not known.
During day three of cross-examination that started on Monday, Selebano told the inquest at the high court in Pretoria that he initially thought the patients died while in transit
“I can assure you that they were registered to operate before [the then director in the mental health unit Dr Makgoba] Manamela signed for the patients to be moved. I thought the patients died while in transit because the ombudsman never sent the report to me,” said Selebano.
The inquest is probing if the health officials should be held criminally liable for the deaths of the 144 mental health patients and the 21 confirmed missing patients since 2016.
The court adjourned and cross-examination is expected to continue on Thursday.