Premier’s spokesperson denies stand-off with sheriff

2012-01-18 14:17

Claims of a dramatic stand-off between the sheriff of the high court and security guards at Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s office are not true, her spokesperson has said.

“The sheriff is in consultation with our legal department to reach an agreement,” Xoli Mngambi has said.

The Democratic Alliance’s Gauteng caucus leader, Jack Bloom, earlier issued a statement saying the sheriff, Diana Chivelli, was locked out by security officers at Mokonyane’s downtown Johannesburg office.

Chivelli was due to attach about 1 400 pieces of furniture worth R1 million to settle part of a R9.25 million damages court order for negligence by the Pholosong Hospital in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni.

Thembeni Khanyi brought the case against then premier Mbhazima Shilowa in 2008 after her now 12-year-old son was asphyxiated due to a prolonged birth process.

He suffered extensive and serious brain injury and is now permanently impaired.

In February last year, South Gauteng High Court Judge Nigel Willis ruled that the premier was liable to pay R9.25 million plus the costs of nine experts who testified for the boy.

Bloom said it was a disgrace that Mokonyane had failed to obey a court order that would assist the struggling family to look after him.

“Mokonyane has to take responsibility for this debacle arising from her arrogance and incompetent lawyers,” he said.
» In June 2008, the Constitutional Court forced government to pay about R320 000 to Dingaan Nyathi for medical expenses after his condition worsened while waiting for his R1.5 million damages award, also for negligence.

The Gauteng provincial government failed to pay, forcing Nyathi to seek relief at the North Gauteng High Court, which found that the State Liability Act was unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Court later confirmed the judgment but Nyathi died a year before the matter was settled.
The act barred the attachment of any state property but government was ordered to provide the Constitutional Court with details of all outstanding judgment debts and to submit a plan for the speedy settlement of all such debts before the end of July 2008.

It also gave Parliament a year to “pass legislation that provides for the effective enforcement of court orders”.
However, government failed to comply and asked for a further extension of 12 months, which was granted.

President Jacob Zuma finally signed the State Liability Amendment Act in August last year, allowing the attachment of state movable property.

In November 2009, Cabinet also ordered government departments to settle such debts within 30 days to prevent the attachment of the state’s immovable property.

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