Gauteng Health defends not using R1.35bn

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Johannesburg - Delays in procurement of contractors and large equipment is because matters are still in the procurement stage and as a result of the non-performance of contractors.

These are the reasons the Gauteng Department of Health said it had not spent R1.355 billion of its R28.7bn 2013/14 budget.

The figures were revealed in the fourth-quarter monitoring report tabled at a Gauteng legislature health committee meeting.

It covers the January to March period which ended the financial year.

According to DA MPL Jack Bloom, the department’s biggest “failure” was in capital spending, with R769 million meant for hospital building repairs, machinery and equipment unspent.

“In respect of equipment at the revitalisation of hospitals, large expensive equipment is still in the procurement process,” department spokesman Prince Hamnca said on Friday.

“This has resulted in expenditure not being realised due to long lead times in importing equipment.

“Payment delays have also resulted in under-expenditure.”

Hamnca said the non-performance of contractors also added to under- expenditure trends.

“Contractors that do not perform have to be dealt with in terms of the contract and if a contractor is terminated because of non performance, the tender is re-advertised and awarded.

“This can cause lengthy delays in implementation and spending of a project,” he added.

Bloom said it was “scandalous” so much money went unspent when there was a barrage of complaints about crumbling hospitals and broken equipment.

Non-profit institutions (NPOs) also suffered as over R400m was not paid to them.

Hamnca admitted the department experienced a shortfall in available cash, resulting in delays to pay all NPOs on time.

“Of the total budget of R471m in 2013/14, an amount of R355m was paid to NPOs, which led to a shortfall of R115m.”

Hamnca claimed all NPOs had since been paid in the 2014/15 financial year.

“This poor budget spending shows that gross mismanagement continues in this department despite promises of a ‘turnaround’,” Bloom said.

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