Despite empty posts and decrepit hospitals, the Gauteng Health Department failed to spend a whopping R2.6 billion of its budget in the 2021/22 financial year which ended on 31 March 2022.
This bombshell information was disclosed last week to the Finance Committee in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to the presentation by Gauteng Treasury, R365 million meant for compensation of employees was unspent “as a result of not filling a number of vacancies that were provided for”, as well as underperformance in the award of bursaries for training.
Furthermore, R480 million earmarked for infrastructure was not spent, which resulted in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) refurbishment not being done at the Leratong, Sebokeng, Weskoppies and Jubilee hospitals.
R1.6 billion of Conditional Grant money was unspent due to non-filling of posts, claims not submitted, and unpaid invoices for the procurement of equipment.
There was also R658 million unauthorised expenditure, and R2.57 billion is being surrendered back to Treasury.
In March, this year only 24% of health suppliers were paid within the legally required 30 days, with 22000 suppliers owed R2.4 billion, including 5580 companies that are owed R733 million for more than 120 days.
The accrued budget commitment at the end of the 2021/22 financial year is an astounding R8.86 billion which will have to be paid out of this year’s budget.
The big victims of this financial disaster are suffering patients, overworked medics, and unpaid suppliers.
The only glimmer of hope is that the department recently appointed a permanent head of department and a new chief financial official after these posts were vacant for more than a year.
They have a huge task to fix the deep rot which hurts so many vulnerable people who depend on public health services in Gauteng.