Health’s huge legal costs

The Eastern Cape Health Department incurred R34.3-million in legal costs during the 2013-2014 financial year to fight a number of lawsuits.

The figures were published in a report on litigation with adverse outcomes against the provincial government.

“This is a mind-blowing sum,” the shadow MEC for health, Celeste Barker of the DA, said in a speech in the provincial legislature yesterday.

“How on earth did the administration of the Department of Health allow this to happen?

Who in the department is responsible for authorising legal action and incurring costs on the basis of unreliable, incomplete or inadequate evidence?

When will those responsible be held to account?”

Last year alone the department faced legal claims totalling a staggering R876-million.

Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said they no longer responded to queries about the department’s legal bills.

National Department of Health spokesman Joe Maila did not respond to a request for comment.

-Estelle Ellis

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