R1.488 billion owed to Gauteng health suppliers

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The Gauteng Health Department owes R1.488 billion to suppliers who mostly provide goods and services to hospitals.

This was revealed earlier this week by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a presentation to the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee.

This huge figure shows that little progress has been made in paying health suppliers in good time, which often leads to problems in hospitals when they cease deliveries.

Maintenance also suffers because of non-payments, leading to frequent machinery breakdowns.

The four academic hospitals (Charlotte Maxeke, Chris Hani Bara, Steve Biko and George Mukhari) owe R531 million, while other hospitals and clinics owe R750 in total.

According to Qedani, the Provincial Treasury provided a R300 million cash advance in May for the payment of accruals, but this is clearly inadequate.

It is terribly disappointing that non-payments are still so high, pushing many small companies to bankruptcy.

Only 51% of health suppliers are currently paid within the legally required 30 days.

Previously, other departments have had to surrender money to pay the health debts.

Fixing the troubled health department is a major challenge for Premier David Makhura.