Department of Health only manages to spend 35% of its budget

Jane Sithole, MPL

Spokesperson on Health and Social Development:

The provincial department of Health should be booked into the Intensive Care Unit because even after its curatorship was lifted, it is still continuing on a downwards spiral.

In his State of the Province address in February this year, Premier David Mabuza proudly announced that Themba, Ermelo, Sabie and Rob Ferreira Hospitals were being upgraded and that routine maintenance was underway. However, the Premier’s statements differ drastically from information contained in the Department of Health’s third quarterly report signed on 19 January 2015, where it states that Themba, Carolina, Sabie, Elsie Ballot, Mammetlhake, Ermelo and Bethal projects are delayed on implementation due to overdesign.

According to the report, of the R646 million budgeted for infrastructure development, the department has so far only been able to spend R231 million. This means that in a space of nine months, the department only managed to spend a mere 35% of its budget.

The report further states that the appointment of maintenance teams has not taken place as the department has yet to appoint any artisans.

The department also set a target to maintain 60 out of 279 Primary Health Care facilities but failed dismally in this regard as they were only able to maintain 14.

This leads one to wonder whether the Premier is purposely misleading the citizens of Mpumalanga about the status of the Department of Health or whether it is in fact Premier Mabuza’s cabinet that is misleading him about their own incompetence.

The DA will ask parliamentary questions to the Premier as well as Health MEC Gillion Mashego about the state of public healthcare facilities and the underspending of budgets.

The department cannot continue surrendering money meant to uplift the province’s Health Care Systems while Mpumalanga citizens are forced to wait for hours in overcrowded and understaffed clinics and hospitals.