Health risks losing life-saving equipment … AGAIN
by Isak Fritz MPL – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
Date: 09 May 2017
Type: Press Statement
The Northern Cape Health Department’s flouting of a court order to pay an instalment of R4,5 million to former service provider, Bestor CC, once again sees the department at risk of losing life-saving medical equipment.
An urgent warrant of execution for the attachment of immovable property was served on the department’s CFO and the MECs’ for Health and Finance, on Friday last week. The warrant comes after the department lapsed on its monthly payment to Bestor CC, which was due on or before 30 April 2017. Its next instalment is due on or before 31 May 2017.
The department is indebted to Bestor CC for over R40 million. The former service provider for fax and copy machines has already won two cases against the department for damages and costs due to the improper termination of a maintenance contract, as well as for failing to return 148 fax and copier machines to the company. The court date for Bestor CC’s third and biggest case against the department, which sees them suing for R210 million for loss of income, has yet to be set.
To date, this is the third time that it has been necessary for the Sherriff of the Court to attach assets in order to force the department to pay its dues to Bestor CC.
Assets currently being attached include equipment from two server rooms, one at the department’s administration block and the other at Kimberley Hospital, as well as a CT scanner, oxygen machines, x-ray machines and computers from facilities in Kimberley, Kuruman, De Aar and Upington.
The actual confiscation of this equipment could in effect cripple the hospital’s ability to perform emergency services and also plunge the department into administrative chaos, threatening the day to day business of the department, including the ordering of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, as well as the payment of departmental employees.
The department has up until 26 May 2017 to pay its outstanding debt to Bestor CC before saying goodbye to key assets valued at R4,5 million plus an additional R60 000 in interest for late payment.
It is unacceptable that the Health Department, through its own financial mismanagement, has placed itself in this precarious position.
The Health Department is not above the law. The longer the department delays in settling its legal debt, the more the debt escalates due to rising inflation rates, and the more the sick and vulnerable will suffer as a result of funds being channeled away from service delivery.
The DA calls on Health MEC, Lebogang Motlhaping, to urgently intervene and ensure that everyone who is owed money by this department receives their dues and that those responsible for offering poor legal advice, and in turn hampering payments to lawful beneficiaries, are held accountable.
The DA further hopes that this finally pushes the department into budgeting for legal liabilities, especially considering that they are currently facing legal claims to the value of over R500 million.
Isak Fritz MPL
DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387