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Civil lawsuits strain Gauteng Health Dept’s finances

The Gauteng Health Department is facing a whopping R22 billion in legal claims.

FILE: A Life Esidimeni care centre in Boksburg. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Gauteng Health Department is facing a whopping R22 billion in legal claims.

The provincial Health Department’s finances are under severe strain as a result of civil lawsuits like the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

National Treasury officials are briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance on the state of Gauteng and the Free State provinces finances on Friday.

Gauteng’s Health Department budget is also about to surpass the Education Department’s budget, making it one of only two provinces that budget more for Health.

The Gauteng Health Department has already paid over R1 billion in claims in just the last financial two years.

The claims include the Life Esidimeni tragedy where the families of the 144 people who died were each offered a settlement of R1.2 million.

National Treasury Director Mike Rammabi say: “These claims against the state are actually eroding funds for critical services for health as a sector… and that is a very, very big issue.”

Finance MEC Barbara Creecy has told MPs that finance and management control in the department broke down amid that crisis.

“Our Health [Department] was not only posing a risk to itself, but it was posing a risk to the financial stability of the whole province.”

LISTEN: Lying in State: The Life Esidimeni Tragedy - The cost of cost-cutting

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)