By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
The Gauteng Health Department has been involved in 75 court cases since 2012 by companies suing for non-payment of goods and services.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng legislature.
Most of these cases have not been finalised, but the department has had to pay R4.5 million to companies that won their court cases in the past four years. Extra interest for late payments has amounted to R245 000.
One of the outstanding cases is by Krumhold Foods and Commodities (Pty) Ltd which has instituted a claim for R1 516 482 for alleged non-payment of goods from August 2009 to August 2011.
Mahlangu says in her reply that the department will avoid being sued for non-payment by paying invoices within 30 days.
This is the legal norm which is not adhered to in many cases.
It is shameful that so many companies have to sue the department to get payment. Some smaller firms have unfortunately gone bankrupt because of late payments which need to be eliminated altogether by the department.
Companies should not have to go to court or beg for money that is due to them from a government department.