State car seized over late payout

A WOMAN in Mpumalanga, who lost her voice in a botched operation, had to seize a state car before the health department paid the more than R50000 it owed her.

A WOMAN in Mpumalanga, who lost her voice in a botched operation, had to seize a state car before the health department paid the more than R50000 it owed her.

Aileen Peggy Meiring of Middelburg sued the provincial health department after her vocal cords were accidentally cut in an operation to remove her thyroid gland. She cannot speak and must use a tracheotomy tube to be heard.

Mario Calzadilla performed the operation at the Witbank Hospital.

Meiring had won a court battle with the state after she alleged malpractice against the provincial health department.

The North Gauteng high court in Pretoria ordered the department to pay her R580000, with interest of 15,5percent from October 22.

But the former nurse had still not been paid by May so she returned to court to force the department to fork out the damages. She was then paid R58000 but the department missed the court's payment deadline and did not pay the R51462,19 it owed her.

Meiring instructed her lawyer, Koos Nel, to attach a Toyota Corolla 1,6 belonging to the health department.

"The department did not appear to have a sense of urgency in closing this matter," Meiring said. "They sent me from pillar to post every time I asked about the progress of the outstanding amount. I had no choice but to do something."

Meiring said she still struggled to accept that she had lost her voice forever.

Mpho Gabashane of the health department blamed the delay on state lawyers who submitted the claims very late.

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