Johannesburg - Former Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu says she considers herself a "warm" person and does not understand why some officials claimed they were afraid of her.
This, after former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke told Mahlangu that Levy Mosenogi, the head of the project which led to the death of 143 Life Esidimeni patients, claimed that he was scared of her.
"I don't know why all of a sudden they would be scared of me... I know myself to be a very warm person," Mahlangu said during her second day of her testimony at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
When Mahlangu described herself as warm, some members of the public in the crowd responded with disbelief and said she was dishonest.
Mosenogi was not the only official who claimed to fear Mahlangu.
Former Gauteng health department head Barney Selebano previously said he was afraid to stand up to her after he continued acting in contravention of the rights of mentally ill patients under her instruction.
"I didn't stand up that time, I wish I had... I doubt it would have gotten any better results. Probably, we would still have walked this tragic road," he said at the time.
Dressed in dark clothes, Mahlangu, who is in the hot seat at the hearing, said that she had never thought the Life Esidimeni project would have led to the loss of lives.
She said she had no reason to doubt the information given to her by officials, that NGOs were ready to receive patients.
She added that officials who provided her with information were Selebano and former health head Makgabo Manamela, among others.
Asked if she thought money followed patients to NGOs, Mahlangu said: "I'm not sure Justice, I'm not sure... I do not have the figures in front of me, so I don't want to sit here and lie to you."
Mahlangu also insisted she would not be part of discussions around issues of procurement or tenders.
She claimed that government officials appointed for that purpose were "solely responsible".
Crime Intelligence welcome
When proceedings started, Mahlangu told the hearing that when she arrived in the country, she was welcomed by officers who said they were from Crime Intelligence.
She also said a drone was hovering above her house.
"I don't know what to make of this... I don't know why I'm being harassed," she said.
She added that she had been "co-operating and doing what is required of her".