Will state pay him in time to save his life?

Lynn Williams

A PORT Elizabeth man’s fight to live has been given a boost after the Compensation Commission agreed yesterday to pay out his claim.

Earlier this week, The Herald reported how Norman Fortuin had effectively been condemned to death by the Labour Department’s failure to pay for the life-saving treatment he desperately needs.

The 54-year-old Adcockvale father of two had been fighting for months to have the R184000 workmen’s compensation claim paid. The amount excludes future medical costs.

However, by last night, the family had still not been informed of the out-of-court settlement.

Fortuin’s wife, Beverley, said she would believe it when she saw it.

“I have just been to the bank. The account did not reflect that any payment was made.”

Fortuin had been fighting for months to have his claim paid out.

In April, the Port Elizabeth High Court ordered the respondents – the Compensation Commission, Labour Department and Minister of Labour – to fork out for Fortuin’s medical expenses up until that point and future medical costs, including a bone-marrow transplant. However, the respondents failed to do so and Fortuin’s condition deteriorated to such an extent that he was given less than six months to live.

Last week, the high court granted an order holding the respondents in contempt of court for failing to pay.

They were given until yesterday to explain why they should not be held in contempt.

However, the case was removed from the court roll when the respondents agreed to pay.

The couple’s lawyer, Schalk Pieterse, was not able to say when the money would be paid.

Fortuin developed bone cancer after inhaling harmful chemicals at his workplace of 14 years, Freeworld Automotive Coatings (Pty) Ltd. He was medically boarded in May last year.

He was told he urgently needed a stem-cell transplant before the disease evolved into leukaemia.

Fortuin’s legal battle dates back to last August when he first filed a medical report, including an exposure history, with the Compensation Commissioner.

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