The Eastern Cape departments of health and education are facing hundreds of lawsuits‚ with Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle admitting last week that the health department had paid more than R250-million in claims in one year.
“In the last financial year‚ we took out of the health budget around R260-million towards paying [medico-legal] claims and it was not budgeted for.
“It impacts on the quality of service if we have such a drain on the health sector‚” Masualle told the Daily Dispatch.
The departments are also worried they will lose millions more due to the provincial state attorney’s inability to handle the caseload.
In a bid to stem the outrush of millions‚ the two departments have withdrawn cases from the state attorney’s office and handed them over to private attorneys.
The departments are believed to have spent in the region of R43-million on legal fees with private law firms‚ which is said to have led to a decline in the number of lawsuits registered against the departments this year.
Many of the cases involve health malpractice suits‚ as well as parents litigating over corporal punishment‚ fraudulent delivery of learner support material‚ sexual abuse and financial misconduct.