The Eastern Cape Health has obtained an interim interdict preventing attorney Zuko Nonxuba from putting into effect writs of execution he has against the department for about R79m.
Provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo confirmed the interim interdict had been granted in the Eastern Cape High Court (Makhanda), says a Daily Dispatch report. The R79m is owed to six of Nonxuba’s clients, who have successfully sued the Health Department for damages in medical negligence cases.
However, a senior legal manager in the Health Department, Mlungisi Mlambo, said that the claims constituted a devastating threat to the financial viability of the department. Its budget was already stretched and it paid out a whopping R750m twice monthly on salaries and R250m to service providers.
“On any given month, the department generally pays between R1.8bn and R2.4bn. The addition of an unscheduled amount of almost R80m will severely affect these scheduled payments,” he said.
Nonxuba had obtained writs of execution against the Health Department’s bank account, and the amount was supposed to be paid last week. But the department said it was concerned that the claims might have been obtained fraudulently and, even if they were not, it feared that if the money were paid into Nonxuba’s trust account it might not ultimately reach those for whom it is intended.
Mlambo claimed in an affidavit that Nonxuba’s firm, Nonxuba Inc, had previously fraudulently sought and obtained orders against both the Eastern and Western Cape Health Departments without the authority of the ‘supposed claimants’ it claimed to represent.
These claims were being investigated by the Legal Practices’ Council (LPC) and the SIU. He said three medico-legal damages claims that had led to Nonxuba facing criminal charges showed claims on behalf of various claimants that were “often contrived, and part of an elaborate and well-orchestrated scheme”.
Mlambo said the department had legitimate and grave concerns about the manner in which the judgments had been obtained. More importantly, it wanted to know where the money would end up if the writs were honoured and paid into Nonxuba’s trust account. He pointed out, notes the Daily Dispatch report, that the LPC had also recently applied to interdict Nonxuba from practising as an attorney. There was also evidence that Nonxuba had set up contingency fee agreements with his clients that did not comply with the Contingency Fees Act.
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