Disclaimer points to poor leadership in health department

Harold McGluwa MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Chairperson

The Democratic Alliance will write to the acting Premier, Grizelda Cjiekella, requesting that disciplinary action be taken against serial underperforming managers within the Northern Cape Department of Health. The department received its ninth consecutive disclaimer of opinion from the Auditor-General. It is unacceptable that for the past nine years the Northern Cape ANC government has been unable to achieve a clean audit outcome whereas in its first year of administration, the DA-run Western Cape managed to achieve a clean sweep of audit outcomes.

The department of health has received a disclaimer of opinion from the AG, which is one of the worst possible audit opinions a department can get. It is the DA’s view that this points to a lack of leadership by MEC Mxolisa Sokatsha, and poor management by senior officials. It is unacceptable that the health department had the greatest amount of fruitless, wasteful, irregular and unauthorized expenditure given its importance to the health and wellbeing to residents of the Northern Cape.

The AG has exposed that management struggles to account effectively on the department’s financial position as can be observed in the excessive understating of R246 060 370 for fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure.

It is most concerning that the department remains mum on whether it has removed any underperforming managers. This confirms the AG’s assertion that there is a “lack of consequences for non-performance” and a “lack of commitment from leadership resulting in commitments not being implemented”.

With these levels of mismanaged funds, it is no wonder then that the province is still without a fully functional mental hospital and that many state patients in the province are still kept in jail because there is simply not enough accommodation for them in West End Hospital’s 12-bed facility.

A disclaimer of opinion is a clear indictment on a department which has inadequate information systems which, for ordinary citizens, could see patients getting lost in the system. It is also no surprise that with poor systems, the AG has cited the disappearance of just over R6,5 million worth of immovable assets. The management of the department has in essence failed to meet 68% of its planned targets for the financial year. The ANC’s mismanagement of the department of health is failing the province’s many poor residents who have no option but to utilize state health facilities.

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