by Dr Isak Fritz MPL – Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
Date: 16 November 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA urgently calls on the MEC of Health, Lebogang Motlhaping, to appoint a permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as well as other senior managers to Kimberley Hospital and other health facilities across the province.
The DA is deeply concerned that health care in the province is on the verge of coming to a standstill as a result of inherent mismanagement of funds and resources. It is essential that management structures are stabilised to negotiate health services through volatile waters.
Yesterday’s briefing by the Auditor General at the legislature highlighted the fact that while the Northern Cape Health Department incurred R574 million irregular expenditure in the past financial year, its cumulative irregular expenditure now stands at R5.747 billion. This is way more than the department’s annual budget allocation of R4.4 billion.
The department also incurred R51 million in unauthorised expenditure in the previous financial year as a result of over-expenditure on contractual obligations and accruals, which are in effect late payments. Cumalated unauthorised expenditure now stands at R381.222 million.
On top of this, the department incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the value of R10.537 million, mainly as a result of interest and penalties on late payments.
It is clear that this department is caught up in a vicious cycle of mismanagement from which it cannot escape.
Every year, the department starts the new financial year off in the red as it pays overdue unpaid debts to suppliers and service providers. It then doesn’t have enough funds to pay for current supplies and services due to a combination of the effect of accruals, which totaled R339 million in the past financial year. This is in turn exacerbated by the department’s inability to implement frugal financial management.
This is however not surprising given that a number of facilities have been operating without the necessary management in place.
Kimberley Hospital in particular, which is the province’s only tertiary facility and treats the bulk of the Northern Cape’s patients, has been operating with only an acting Chief Executive Officer for years already.
It simply cannot be that health facilities are left to stumble through a financial minefield like headless chickens. Without the necessary expertise and stability of permanent and capable managers, the department is bound to sink.
Just as important, however, is the political will to do the right thing.
The DA therefore hopes that MEC Motlhaping will do what is best for the thousands of sick and vulnerable residents of this province who depend on this department for their wellbeing, and move with haste to ensure that capable professionals are appointed to efficiently manage the finances and affairs of health facilities across the province.
The MEC’s failure to do so will ultimately mean no medicines for the sick, no medical supplies for the injured, no fuel for ambulances, no diesel for generators and no food for patients. And in effect, it will mean no health care for the people of the Northern Cape.
Dr Isak Fritz MPL
Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387