Medical aid: Badul wins

2010-02-27 00:00

THE South African Police Service medical aid scheme, Polmed, must pay the medical costs incurred by former Pietermaritzburg police director Hariram Badul from the time he was suspended until at least January 29 — the date on which he was served with a notice of dismissal.

This is the effect of the order handed down yesterday by Acting Judge Nkosinathi Chili in the high court, but there is still confusion about whether KwaZulu-Natal’s SAPS provincial commissioner, Betty Ngobeni, was entitled to fire Badul two days before he retired on January 31.

This is because Chili did not refer to Badul’s dismissal in his judgment, or deal with an application brought on Badul’s behalf that asked for a declaratory order in that regard.

The judge also ruled that Polmed and the Police minister are jointly responsible for the legal costs.

Badul (60) is under investigation for alleged fraud and theft. He served in the SAPS for 41 years, and was Mountain Rise station commissioner until last year.

Members of the Badul family at court yesterday said they will seek legal advice on the way forward, after studying a written copy of the judgment.

They expressed relief that Polmed was ordered to pay Badul’s bills for the period that he was suspended. Large sums of money have already been paid by family members.

In her affidavit, Badul’s daughter, Chantal, said the balance of Badul’s account at St Anne’s hospital on January 28 (after payments of R118 000) was R188 941.

Chili rejected submissions by Polmed and the minister that the high court in Pietermaritzburg does not have jurisdiction to grant an order against Polmed because the scheme’s head office is in Pretoria.

He agreed with submissions by Rob Seggie SC that Badul received treatment at St Anne’s, which is within the jurisdiction of the court.

He also said that a letter sent by Ngobeni to Badul’s lawyers on December 4 last year would have quelled any doubts in Badul’s mind that his medical bills would be met by Polmed.

The letter — which was later said to be a mistake — advised Badul that it would be in his best interests to make arrangements to pay contributions to Polmed to retain his medical cover.

Chili ruled that in these circumstances, Badul had no reason to go to a state hospital rather than a private one.

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