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Johannesburg - The National Treasury is up to its neck in legal matters, having dealt with more than 300 cases in the past few years at a cost of about R24 million.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan provided some details on the millions his department has paid to private law firms and the State Attorney in a written reply to a parliamentary question by DA MP Stuart Farrow.
The State Attorney has been paid a little over R20m since 2009 to date, while private law firms were paid R1.8m in 2010 and R2.4m in 2011. Gordhan said there had been 346 cases since April last year.
The State Attorney dealt with 126 matters during the 2009/2010 financial year, 139 matters during the following financial year and and 165 cases during the 2011/2012 financial year.
Private firms had been hired to deal with 19 matters since the 2009/2010 financial year (11 matters during the 2009/2010 financial year, five matters during the 2010/2011 financial year, three matters during the 2011/2012 financial year and one matter during the period April 1 last year to February 15 this year).
“Eight of the cases in the 2009/2010 financial year required commercial law expertise and one required labour law expertise, which were not available from the office of the State Attorney. In one case, the State Attorney’s mandate was terminated because of unsatisfactory services,” Gordhan said.
Two cases in the 2010/2011 financial year were a continuation of cases from the previous year, and three matters required commercial expertise which was not available from the State Attorney.
Gordhan said the one case handled by a private firm over the past year required commercial expertise not available in the Office of the State Attorney.