Democratic Alliance press statement by
Dr Isak Fritz MPL
DA Northern Cape Health Spokesperson
Health dept. again risks losing ambulances and oxygen machines to the Sheriff
30 May 2016
The DA is calling on the newly deployed Head of the Northern Cape Health Department, Liz Botes, to urgently ensure that the department pays its former service provider outstanding legal costs to prevent the Sherriff of the court attaching and auctioning off ambulances and oxygen machines belonging to the embattled department.
A warrant of execution for the attachment of immovable property was served on the department last week. This comes after the department failed to comply with a court order, ordering the department to pay Bestor CC its installment of over R700 000.
This is in relation to the second case won by Bestor CC against the department.
In this regard, the department was found liable for damages and costs, as a result of the improper termination of a maintenance contract for fax and copy machines. Bestor CC is now claiming an amount of R34,1 million from the department. This includes damages suffered, interest accrued on the damages, as well as R3,2 million in costs for legal fees incurred by the plaintiff. The quantum for this case is set to be finalized in the High Court in August this year.
This is not the first time that the department had to be threatened by the Sherriff of the court to pays its dues to Bestor CC. In June last year, a warrant of execution for the attachment of immovable property was also served on the department after it failed to comply with a court order to pay Bestor CC over R470 000, plus interest and costs. This came after Bestor CC successfully sued the Health Department for R710 000 for failing to return 148 fax and copier machines to the company.
The third part of the legal saga is set to go to court in August this year and sees Bestor CC claiming over R8,3 million from the department for malicious damage of property.
Ambulances and oxygen machines are already in short supply in the Health Department. If the department, which is in way over its head with debt, doesn’t manage its liabilities properly, it will permanently lose these and other lifesaving resources, which will further negatively impact on fast deteriorating levels of service delivery within the department.
The department claims it is waiting for a full 30 days to lapse before paying its outstanding account. This is, however, in contravention of the date set by the court ruling.
The Health Department is not above the law and should not attempt to seek special favours from those to whom it is indebted. The longer the department delays in settling its legal debt, the more the debt escalates due to rising inflation rates, and the more the sick and vulnerable will suffer as a result of funds being channeled away from service delivery.
The DA sincerely hopes that new HOD, Liz Botes, will speedily intervene and ensure that everyone who is owed money by this department receives their dues.
The DA further welcomes the announcement by Premier Sylvia Lucas on Friday, that an external company would be appointed by National Treasury to continue investigating fraud and corruption at the Department of Health.
We ask that the company also investigates the fax and copier scandal that was spearheaded by then acting HOD, Dion Theys, who, on poor legal advice, sought to wrongfully terminate the Bestor CC contract, at the cost of millions of rands to the department. Someone needs to be held accountable for the millions of rands wasted by the department on avoidable court cases at the expense of service delivery.
DA Northern Cape Health Spokesperson
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387