Cash flow problems halt health projects
A NUMBER of projects commissioned by the Department of Health in the Northern Cape have been halted due to serious cash flow problems.
The Province received a budget of R376 billion from the health facility revitalisation infrastructure grant for the 2018/19 financial year.
Inside sources stated that the allocations from Treasury were exhausted, where service providers were not paid since May.
Out of this budget, R7.9 million was allocated for the completion of the Kimberley mental hospital for the first quarter, although sub-contractors said they were not paid due to non-payment to the main contractors, Mota-Engil Construction.
An amount of R12.4 million was allocated for the acquisition of clinical equipment for the new mental hospital, although the current project status is marked at zero percent.
According to the budget, the total cost of the new mental hospital is R4 billion
Construction on the R149.2 million Port Nolloth health care centre was suspended earlier this year, where letters of demand were sent in August for an outstanding amount of R19.5 million.
The contractor indicated that the project was about 80 percent complete although no work would continue until final payment had been made. “Some payments have since been received.”
The HOD for Health, Steven Jonkers, in August, in correspondence, advised that the department was experiencing delays in processing payment certificates to service providers.
The construction of the R18.1 million Namakwa mortuary in Springbok, which is almost complete, cannot continue until all outstanding payments are honoured.
The contractor for the R20.2 million new Boegoeberg clinic in Groblershoop indicated that he was given “strict instructions” not to speak to the media.
Construction on the R14.6 million pharmacy at Springbok Hospital can proceed after payment was received.
Construction was supposed to be completed in July but will only be finished next year.
Sources indicated that the Kimberley nursing college student accommodation project, valued at R161.4 million, and the R19 million clinic at Bankhara Bodulong have apparently also been affected because of non-payment, although the contractors could not be reached for comment.
The MEC for Health, Fufe Makatong, yesterday indicated that the department had in fact underspent on its infrastructure grant.
“We have just received rolled over funds from Treasury to pay service providers.”
She added that all payments were up to date with regards to the mental hospital.
“We received money for operational costs and hope that by the end of the calendar year patients will be admitted at this facility. We are aiming to obtain specialised equipment by the end of this month.”
Makatong stated that the Port Nolloth community health care centre would be completed by the end of the financial year.