Legal inertia costs state mega bucks

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

Lawyers representing government departments in litigation should be efficient and strive to save millions of rands in public funds that could be invested elsewhere.

Chief litigation officer Lindiwe Vilakazi told delegates attending the state litigation management conference in Boksburg yesterday that R30million had been spent on litigation in Eastern Cape alone on cases related to social grants.

She told delegates that the failure to react speedily to legal applications would result in situations in whichthe public resorted to the courts to seek relief.

The lack of efficiency in the system was evident in the case of Dingaan Nyathi versus the Gauteng health department, which was heard in the Constitutional Court last year.

He claimed for negligence but the Department of Health took so long to finalise the case, even though it had admitted liability, that he died before he could be paid.

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development director-general Menzi Simelane urged lawyers to develop frameworks to improve efficiency.