The Eastern Cape provincial government has set aside R3.2m to establish a litigation unit within Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s office in a move it hopes will help curb medico-legal claims against the Department of Health. A Daily Dispatch report says acting finance MEC Nonkqubela Pieters made the announcement while delivering the province’s midterm expenditure budget adjustments at the Bhisho legislature.
She said the multi-disciplinary task team would comprise officials from Mabuyane’s office, the Eastern Cape Treasury, Eastern Cape Health Department and a number of independent legal minds. The announcement came after AG Kimi Makwetu revealed that provincial medico-legal claims in the 2018/19 financial year had increased to R29bn from R24bn the previous year. The figure exceeded the department’s entire annual budget by R5bn.
Makwetu – in his latest audits of all national and provincial government departments and state entities – found a total of R797m was paid by the Health Department for medico-legal claims in the year under review, of which R460m “was funded by an overdraft facility”. He said this “was not sustainable and placed further pressure on the fiscus”.Daily Dispatch report (subscription needed)