The Constitutional Court yesterday reprimanded the behaviour of the state attorney and the office of the director- general for justice.
The court said it wanted to issue an order making them accountable for their work.
"I have a deep intolerance for state officials who are paid to do their work and don't do so . to the detriment of poor, marginalised people," said Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Moseneke's was reacting to past delays in honouring Dingani Nyathi's R2,2million liability claim.
Nyathi had a stroke after an intravenous device was incorrectly inserted by staff at a government hospital.
He was finally paid in May and he died in July. But his lawyer, Ronel Tomay, is continuing with the case on a constitutional principle.
She is arguing that it would be possible to attach state property - ideally a bank account - to get money.
She wants the constitutional court to confirm a Pretoria high court ruling that Section 3 of the Public Liability Act is unconstitutional because it does not allow the attachment of state assets when court-ordered payments are not made.
"Last year officials in the state attorney's office didn't do their work. Nyathi's death may be very closely connected with the lack of resources.
"I don't want to hear more excuses about the lack of resources," said Moseneke." - Sapa