Health Depart­ment pays mil­lions over late pay­ments

Pretoria News - - NATION - BALD­WIN NDABA bald­win.ndaba@inl.co.za

THE Gaut­eng Health Depart­ment has been forced to fork out more than R5.6 mil­lion for late pay­ment in­ter­est for its fail­ure to pay Stan­dard Bank and one if its fel­low gov­ern­ment de­part­ments on time.

This was the ad­mis­sion of Gaut­eng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku in his writ­ten re­ply to ques­tions by the DA’s spokesper­son on health, Jack Bloom.

The depart­ment now has out­stand­ing debt of about R92m for sim­i­lar of­fences on late pay­ment for last year alone. In this case, four ser­vice providers are owed the money.

Bloom had asked Masuku to pro­vide him with de­tails re­gard­ing in­ter­est ac­cu­mu­lated be­cause of his depart­ment’s late pay­ments be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber last year.

In his re­sponse, Masuku said his depart­ment had paid a to­tal amount of R5 642 301.43.

Stan­dard Bank was paid R5 520 972.90 while the Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment billed the Health Depart­ment R121 328.53.

Masuku said court or­ders, late pay­ment of in­ter­est-bear­ing ac­counts and in­fra­struc­ture-re­lated mat­ters ac­counted for the high amounts paid by the depart­ment.

He said the depart­ment still owed

R90 611 248.60 for late pay­ments and R1 232 130.02 for court-or­dered pay­ments.

De­spite these shock­ing rev­e­la­tions, Masuku said the depart­ment was com­mit­ted to set­tling all its obli­ga­tions within the pre­scribed pe­riod of 30 days.

Masuku’s ad­mis­sion and re­ac­tion irked Bloom.

He said the depart­ment would never get a clean au­dit if penalty amounts con­tin­ued to be paid for over­due ac­counts as these were clas­si­fied as fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture.

“Bet­ter fi­nan­cial dis­ci­pline is needed to en­sure that all ac­counts are paid in time,” Bloom said.

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