Sunday, 16 June, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalEC Health MEC granted bid to appeal R22m damages order

EC Health MEC granted bid to appeal R22m damages order

After conceding liability for injuries and damages suffered during a childbirth at Mthatha General Hospital, Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth has now sought the court’s relief over an order to pay the patient more than R22m.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) recently upheld an appeal against an order of the Eastern Cape High Court (Mthatha), making a proposed draft settlement order an order of court.

The Cape Times reports that the mother had instituted the legal action at the time for damages arising from harm caused to her child during birth at the hospital.

The court issued a rule nisi order on 30 June 2020 after the calculation of damages came to R22 716 489.

The parties agreed to the total and in his order, Judge Robert Griffiths said it represented “a fair and reasonable quantum of damages…that an order incorporating this sum and in the usual ancillary terms should be granted”.

“The (MEC’s) representatives do not currently have instructions to settle the matter in the aforesaid sums, therefore, a rule nisi is issued by agreement calling upon the Superintendent General of the Department of Health to appear in this court and show cause why an order should not be granted in favour of the plaintiff in terms of the draft order.”

Seemingly wanting to backtrack out of the payment due to the patient, the MEC filed an affidavit setting out reasons why the rule nisi should not be confirmed.

The rule nisi was, however, confirmed by Judge Richard Brooks at the same court, issuing the order in accordance with the draft.

The SCA judgment read: “(Brooks) found that the context in which the rule came to be issued pointed to a firm and binding agreement.

“An important element of the High Court’s reasoning concerned the adoption of a practice, in that court, to deal with persistent failures on the part of the MEC to fully and properly engage with litigation in similar matters, and the failure to furnish timeous instructions to the State Attorney… The court concluded that no reasonable basis had been demonstrated why the order should not be confirmed.”

The SCA found it was not within the power of the High Court to issue the rule nisi and therefore not open to the High Court to confirm the rule nisi. The order of the High Court was set aside, granting the MEC leave to appeal.


Cape Times PressReader article – EC health MEC sued for R22m, now wants to back out of payment (Open access)


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