Irregular expenditure at National Health Laboratory Service increases by R990 million

According to the National Health Laboratory Service’s (NHLS) Annual Report, irregular expenditure increased by R990 million in just one year. Even more shocking is fact that its deficit increased by R2.2 billion over the same period, from a surplus of R273 million the previous year, to a R1.9 billion deficit.
The DA will write to the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to demand that he provide a detailed plan of action to address the serious financial problems at the NHLS as a matter of urgency as these revelations could have devastating consequences for people’s lives.
Minister Motsoaledi must also provide this plan of action in no less than one month as this gross mismanagement of the NHLS’s finances no puts the lives of the more than 80 percent of South Africans who rely on it to diagnose HIV/Aids, Malaria, Cancer and Tuberculosis (TB).
A failure to produce this plan would be a damning indictment on Minister Motsoaledi for neglecting this looming crisis.
Included in the irregular expenditure are the following shocking figures:

  • R575 million paid despite the contracts expiring; and
  • R195 million spent on payments to suppliers with no contracts in place at all.

The NHLS is obviously in serious financial trouble and questions must be also be asked about it financial management and how it got to such serious levels in just one year.
The NHLS plays a vital role in the South African public health through epidemiology, surveillance and outbreak response activities. The majority of our people rely on the NHLS to provide them with pathology services in order to determine whether or not they have life-threatening and possibly contagious diseases.
The DA will not sit back and watch as the NHLS is run to the ground and threatens the lives of our people who have no other alternative to turn to.

Impending pathology strike: Motsoaledi must act to prevent another crisis

The DA has written to the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, to request an urgent intervention from the national health department in the looming national pathology strike.
The impending strike follows the National Health Laboratory Service’s (NHLS) admission that it would not be able to meet the 7.3% salary increase demanded by pathology professionals and their trade unions. It was only able to offer 3%.
It is crucial that arrangements are made with private laboratories in advance, as a strike at the NHLS will be devastating for patients in need of urgent tests for HIV/Aids, Malaria, Cancer, and Multi-Drug Resistant TB.
This strike could have devastating consequences, seeing that the NHLS is responsible for more than 80% of the country’s pathology diagnostic services.
Most of these patients have no other option but to depend on the public health sector to provide them with pathology services, which are key to identifying whether or not patients have life threatening and possibly contagious diseases.
The DA has also requested the Minister to provide a detailed plan of action in order to mitigate the devastating consequences which will be caused by an NHLS strike.
Past tragedies have shown that the national health department’s inaction has been at the centre of too many crises in the healthcare sector.
These strikes, like the mortuary strike in Gauteng, can have debilitating implications on the healthcare sector. We simply cannot have another Life Esidimeni or oncology crisis as we saw in KwaZulu-Natal, which cost hundreds of sick and vulnerable South Africans their lives.
The DA will continue to put pressure on Minister Motsoaledi to ensure that the sick and vulnerable are provided with the service they deserve and that they are treated with dignity and respect.