Health Department pays millions over late payments
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.