MEC a law unto herself, says the DA
Seizure after court order ignored
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.