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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Lebese family claim hospital was negligent


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Thabang Lebese died after going to hospital following complaints of a headache and stiff neck.

FOOTBALL ace Thabang Lebese’s family have accused Helen Joseph Hospital of gross negligence following his death on Wednesday.

But the Gauteng department of health has denied this, saying he received “all the necessary medical care and treatment” as well as psycho-social assistance.

The former Chiefs and Pirates midfielder was admitted to the hospital with complaints of a “stiff neck and terrible headache”. The family say his health worsened while he was at the hospital.

The 38-year-old died at Helen Joseph on Wednesday night after he had been at the hospital for more than a month.

Lebese’s cousin Naomi said the family had a meeting with the hospital’s management on Monday over concerns that Thabang’s health was deteriorating. “We all became worried after he lost sensation to his legs following a lumbar puncture (a procedure during which a needle is inserted into the spine).”

The hospital was considering meningitis tests at the time.

“Another lumbar puncture was done and we believe something was not done right, which led to him being paralysed (from the) waist down,” said Naomi.

“We met hospital management on Monday and sought answers, and another meeting was being arranged. When he died, Thabang… could not talk, after he had walked himself into the hospital on January 21, and we still have received (only) a provisional diagnosis.”

The department has denied all allegations, saying “complications that (Lebese) experienced were not as a result of the treatment he received at the hospital or as a result of negligence by any health worker”.

Department spokesman Simon Zwane said: “During his stay at the hospital, management met with the family and explained his condition and the treatment he was receiving.”

Thabang, who was affectionately known by his nicknames “Chillies” and “Banda”, hit the tabloids when his football career stalled. He had subsequently spoken openly about his “mistakes”, which included throwing large amounts of money around.

“Thabang had big dreams and was working for (an NGO), where he was motivating aspirant and current soccer players,” said Naomi, who added that he was trying to teach them not to make the same errors of judgment he had made.


Messages of condolence from fans and former colleagues poured in through social networking sites on Thursday.

Soccer legend and former Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs player Marks Maponyane remembered Lebese as his neighbour in Naturena, south of Joburg.

“We often hung out together and chatted because we were in the same field of work, which is football. Thabang was a nice and gifted youngster, who was unfortunate not to live long,” he said.

Chiefs’ football manager Bobby Motaung described Lebese on the club’s website as a “jolly fellow, very naughty”.

Said Motaung: “There was no dull moment when he was around. He won cups here and left a legacy. We will remember him as someone who played an immense role in the development of football in South Africa.”

Gauteng sports MEC Lebogang Maile said Thabang was “one of the few players who played for the two Soweto giants, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

“With South Africa now directing its efforts towards youth sports development, we will miss renowned football players of Lebese’s calibre. May his soul rest in peace,” Maile said. – The Star

Lebese family claim hospital was negligent

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