R6 billion unpaid Gauteng health accounts blamed on fire destroying records

The Gauteng Health Departments’ finances are suffering from late accounts that total R6 billion that need to be paid, with some dating back as far as 2017.

This was disclosed by the newly-appointed Head of Department Dr Nomonde Nolutshungu at a recent meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee.

She said that no proper records exist because of the fire at the department’s head office in the Bank of Lisbon building, which occurred in September 2018, and they were dependent on suppliers informing them what they were owed.

The ballooning accrued debts have to be paid from this year’s budget, which is already under severe strain, and patient care will suffer.

Nolutshungu said that R500 million would be set aside every month, of which 50% would be on current expenditure, 30% on accruals and 20% on medical-legal cases.

Nolutshungu stressed that there needed to be strict inventory management to control what was ordered, otherwise accruals would continue to rise.

I think it’s a poor excuse to blame the fire for the poor financial mismanagement that has afflicted this department for many years. Surely the records should have been kept at the various hospitals and on electronic backup?

The victims of all this incompetence are patients who don’t get good care because too much money has been wasted, misspent or stolen.

It’s better late than never, so I hope that Nolutshungu and the newly-appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) succeed in installing the proper controls that are needed to fix this ailing department.