Badul’s medical claims opposed

2010-02-05 00:00

SA POLICE Services’ medical aid scheme, Polmed, is to oppose an application by former Mountain Rise police commissioner Hariram Badul (60) to force the scheme to meet his medical claims in the wake of his suspension last month.

Badul was suspended from the SAPS following his arrest on December 4 on fraud and theft charges. Since then he has been in St Anne’s Hospital where he has undergone at least two operations linked to a tumour.

On January 19, he obtained an interim court order in the high court to force Polmed to process and pay all medical claims submitted on his behalf pending the outcome of the dispute.

In replying papers, which have been filed in the high court in Pietermaritzburg, Polmed secretary Murimisi Samuel Tshabalala said that in terms of Section 43 (2) of the Police Services Act, a member who is suspended from the SAPS is not entitled to “any salary, wages, allowances, privileges or benefits” to which he or she would otherwise be entitled throughout the period of suspension.

In effect, a suspended member ceases to be an employee of the SAPS during the period of suspension, and also ceases to be a member of Polmed, forfeiting benefits temporarily.

Tshabalala said the only exception is if the national or provincial commissioner directs otherwise.

In Badul’s case, he said, the provincial commissioner sent a letter to Polmed dated December 5 informing it that Badul’s salary and benefits, “including Polmed”, had been stopped until further notice.

It appeared from later correspondence that his suspension was effective from December 4, he said.

Tshabalala said the letter was received by Polmed on January 8 this year and on receipt Polmed immediately took action to suspend Badul’s medical aid benefits.

He said the premium management department had in December noticed that Badul’s normal monthly premium was not received on time and queried it with the SAPS.

At that stage it was told his salary had been “frozen”, but no reasons were given.

As a result, a letter was sent to Badul at that point informing him that failure to pay punctually could result in the suspension of his membership. “At that stage Polmed was not aware of the applicant (Badul’s) suspension,” said Tshabalala.

Badul alleged that he was given notice of his suspension by the provincial commissioner on December 10, and was advised that it was in his interests to “make the necessary arrangement regarding the payment for Polmed”.

He maintains that his family arranged to pay both the state’s and his contributions to Polmed up to February 2010.

They had also paid various amounts to St Anne’s Hospital after it emerged that the medical aid was refusing to meet his claims.

He alleged in his affidavit that his daughter, Chantal, had been told by a Polmed staff member in a telephone call that the medical aid was being ”pressured” by members of the SAPS to suspend his membership. He said the person was not prepared to make a written statement.

Judge Jerome Mnguni yesterday extended the interim order instructing Polmed to meet Badul’s claims.

The case was postponed by consent to February 16.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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