Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS

The Special Investigating Unit is probing claims that state attorneys deliberately bungled cases and colluded with private lawyers to defraud the state — and this is estimated to have cost the taxpayer R80bn to date.

The state has opened criminal cases against its lawyers and the private law firms that  are part of the scam.

Justice minister Michael Masutha and his health counterpart, Aaron Motsoaledi, said corruption was so widespread that since 2013, the department of health alone had paid out R60bn in fraudulent malpractice claims that could have been defended.

Motsoaledi said he recently intercepted a legal payment in Limpopo, where the health department was being sued for R70m for a “botched circumcision”.

When the case came to his attention, Motsoaledi became suspicious about the extent of medical malpractice that could warrant such a huge figure.

“When my legal unit was asking for information, there was no co-operation. I then called the MEC and she knew nothing about it. I was shocked that there was a case of R70m and the MEC knew nothing about it.”

When he and an expert at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria examined the file, Motsoaledi “found that no circumcision took place. This guy had an illness and the hospital saved his life”.

Read the full story in the Sunday Times.