The newly appointed MEC for health in the Eastern Cape, Nomakhosazana Meth, has to deal with a health department facing a R7.2-bn reduction in budget in 2021, and a further R28.2-bn over the next three years covered by the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Meanwhile, the contracts of 5 000 community health workers (CHWs) are scheduled to be terminated by the end of March 2021, due to a lack of resources and spikes in medico-legal claims.

The department faces lawsuits in the order of R3.1-bn. This amount is expected to rise to R4.4-bn by the end of the year. Meth blamed the astronomical medico-legal claim bill on unscrupulous lawyers, who are colluding with “unethical and shameless” healthcare workers in the Eastern Cape, to milk the department of billions of rands in dubious claims.

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