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Parliament Refers State Liability Amendment Bill Back to Department

February 3, 2021

Parliament

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services last week decided to refer the State Liability Amendment Bill back to government.

In a statement, the committee indicated that it “felt a holistic approach should be followed with changing the Bill, with all the relevant information being at the disposal of the committee”.

The bill was tabled in parliament in May 2018.

The committee called for comment on the proposed legislation in October 2018.

The bill lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament but was revived by the national assembly in October 2019.

The bill seeks to amend the State Liability Act of 1957 so as to provide for structured settlements for the satisfaction of claims against the state as a result of wrongful medical treatment of persons by servants of the state.

Speaking during his budget vote speech in parliament in May 2018, the former justice and correctional services minister, Michael Masutha, declared that the proposed amendments will seek to address widespread abuse and corruption within the medico-legal claims arena.

Hearings on the bill were held in parliament at the end of October 2018.

The committee pointed out that the investigation and research by the South African Law Reform Commission on medico-legal claims is still outstanding and information that “shows impact on the ground and not just information from summits and declarations” is important and necessary.

According to committee chairperson, Bulelani Magwanishe, the committee holds the view that there is no haste in terms of the bill.

“We do not see the need to address this matter in a piecemeal manner. This cannot be a stop-gap exercise. We require proper consultation with all parties, not just with the Department of Health. We further want an implementation plan as well as a response to all the objections that
were previously raised regarding the Bill”, he said.