The Gauteng Health Department was facing medico-legal claims worth R20.8bn as of the end of March this year, MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko said during her department's budget vote in the Gauteng legislature last week.

According to a News24 report, the MEC said: ‘Medico-legal claims are still a major concern for the department. However, we have managed to bring down the rand value of medico-legal claims and the contingent liabilities to R20.8bn as of the end of March.’

She said the work of verifying the cases would continue under a legal intervention strategy developed to address the negligence claims. 

‘The content of the strategy will include ensuring that we have a dedicated unit that will be working day and night to bring down medico-legal claims. We will further undertake reforms when contracting the CEOs of the hospitals to ensure that their employment contracts include the reduction of medico-legal claims as a key performance,’ she said.

Nkomo-Ralehoko said the department was working hard to strengthen governance systems internally and ensure greater accountability on how limited state resources were used.

‘We have subjected almost 1 600 senior managers and officials in supply chain management (SCM) and human resources to a vetting process. Our 106 senior services employees have now submitted their documents for processing by the State Security Agency (SSA),’ she said.

Nkomo-Ralehoko said a further 1487 SCM and HR employees have also submitted completed forms for the SSA to process.

‘We are working with the Office of the Premier to ensure that forensic investigations in the department are undertaken. We have taken a stance against maladministration and corruption and remain committed to work with Chapter Nine institutions and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the department is rid of bad apples,’ she said.

Full News24 report