MEC a law unto her­self, says the DA

Seizure after court or­der ig­nored

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - BALD­WIN ND­ABA

AJOBURG law firm is due to seize fur­ni­ture and other mov­able goods worth R6.5 mil­lion be­long­ing to the Gaut­eng Health Depart­ment for its fail­ure to hon­our a court or­der against it.

Yes­ter­day, the depart­ment failed to set­tle its debt after sev­eral items of fur­ni­ture be­long­ing to MEC Qedani Mahlangu were at­tached last month by the Sher­iff of the Court.

Among the items pre­served were 800 chairs, 600 desks, 400 com­put­ers, 100 fil­ing cab­i­nets and 60 prin­ters.

The fur­ni­ture was re­moved from the depart­ment’s head­quar­ters in Sauer Street in the Joburg CBD and some of the items were seized from the MEC’s board­room, in­clud­ing the cab­i­nets used for stor­ing vi­tal doc­u­ments.

Gary Austin of the law firm Gary Austin Inc yes­ter­day said he would ask the Sher­iff of the Court this week to re­turn to the Health Depart­ment’s head­quar­ters to seize the goods at­tached on Oc­to­ber 17.

The depart­ment was given un­til yes­ter­day to set­tle the debt.

The ac­tion against the depart­ment fol­lowed a high court or­der in­struct­ing it to pay an amount of R6.5m to Mat­shidiso Mat­lawa after her daugh­ter Lethabo was born brain dam­aged at Chris Hani Barag­wanath Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal five years ago.

Austin said the goods would be sold on auc­tion.

“I’ve been do­ing this for many years, but for the past three years, the premier and the MEC have failed to pay a sin­gle amount on time.

“They do not care about the court or­ders. Not once has the premier and MEC hon­oured a court or­der… I do not know about other law firms. Courts are the high­est au­thor­ity of the land,” Austin em­pha­sised.

He said the provin­cial gov­ern­ment was in the habit of pay­ing only when the Sher­iff of the Court was due to seize their goods.

“They are sup­posed to be the pil­lars of so­ci­ety,” Austin added.

The DA’s health spokesman, Jack Bloom, also ex­pressed dis­may about the Health Depart­ment’s fail­ure to set­tle its debt.

“It is shame­ful that the depart­ment de­lays once again in pay­ing out a court-or­dered award.

“The money is due to Ms Mat­shidiso Mat­lawa for her daugh­ter Lethabo, who was brain dam­aged due to lack of oxy­gen when she was born five years ago at Chris Hani Barag­wanath Hos­pi­tal.”

Bloom said Mahlangu should re­spect the courts and pay promptly.

Mahlangu’s spokesman, Prince Ham­nca, was not avail­able for com­ment at the time of pub­li­ca­tion.

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