By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
It is really shameful that the Sheriff of the court visited the Gauteng Health Department head office twice last week because they failed to pay court-ordered damages for medical negligence.
Furniture was saved on the Sheriff’s first visit on Monday last week after a payment arrangement for R23 million was negotiated, but on his visit on Thursday he removed furniture despite efforts by staff who locked offices and blocked the lifts.
Sheriff Lutendo Mukwevho and 10 furniture movers arrived with an order to attach 400 desks, 800 chairs, 400 computers, five lounge suites and 50 printers.
According to Clare de Lange of Adele van der Walt Attorneys, the department was served with a notice to pay on 18 June, but as no payment was received they attached the furniture.
The amount owing was R8.3 million for a five-year-old who was brain damaged due to staff negligence when he was born in Tshwane District Hospital in February 2010.
Government departments should respect the law like everyone else.
It’s a poor example when furniture is carted off because the department ignores a court-ordered payment.
I am disappointed because Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has promised a more professional approach to settling negligence cases, but it seems that old habits die hard.
Perhaps they should attach her desk first so that she gets the message!
The vast tragedy of hospital negligence cases is worsened when the department tries to avoid its legal obligation to pay damages.