The Gauteng department of health has had to offer some of its assets to the sheriff for attachment in a bid to settle mounting legal claims for negligence at provincial and regional hospitals. Last year alone, the health department’s legal fees amounted to R569m and medicolegal claims have been piling up since 2009. As a result, legal fees have taken up the bulk of the department’s budget even into the new financial year. The department’s budget increased from R37.6bn in 2016 to R40.2bn in 2017. On Thursday, spokesman Khutso Rabothata said after a meeting on Tuesday the department’s legal team had been working on crafting a plan to find a satisfactory way forward, possibly involving the sheriff. "The sheriff might attach items because there are some cases that still need to be paid off," Rabothata said. The department has admitted to overcommitting on the budget allocation because of payments made for settlement of medicolegal claims from monies meant for service delivery and paymen...

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