No festive cheer until MECs pay up

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mokonyane Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

Johannesburg - There will be no Christmas break for Gauteng MECs whose departments have failed to pay suppliers within stipulated legislative period of 30 days.

This undertaking was made by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane yesterday in her political report at a special sitting of the provincial legislature.

“No one, including MECs, should go to festive season break before sorting out all outstanding payments to suppliers,” she vowed. “What is critical for departments is to pay their suppliers within the stipulated legislative period – 30 days. Over the past year, we have paid particular attention to addressing this challenge and [we] are making significant headway. But we will not rest until we have fully turned this situation.”

The province’s state hospitals have been the most hard hit recently, battling major supply shortages, as many suppliers had not been paid for years now.

Mokonyane said the province had adopted prudent cash management measures to ensure that departments’ spending do not exceed funds allocated, including meeting obligations related to conditional grants.

She said all MECs would be presenting before the executive council next week on all their department’s accruals to suppliers.

She said 44 000 outstanding invoices totalling R2.3 billion that were not paid in the past year were “unacceptable”.

This week, DA MPL Jack Bloom said 275 security cameras at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital had not been working for five months as the security company was owed R4.1 million.

This was revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo in reply to Bloom’s questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to the MEC, 175 out of 547 security cameras at the hospital have been out of action for about five months because Potlhako Security and Cleaning Services is owed R4.1m. He said the amount would be paid by December 14.

Bloom said it was worrying that security at the hospital had been compromised because a supplier has not been paid.

“It is clear that problems at Gauteng hospitals continue because of unpaid companies, despite assurances that all suppliers have been paid outstanding amounts,” added Bloom. “This includes a broken CT scanner at the Leratong Hospital that means risky delays in diagnosis of patients.”

Yesterday, Bloom welcomed Mokonyane’s commitment but he said the premier “must deliver on this promise as previous ones have not been met”.

Bloom said he still gets many complaints of unpaid companies.

Mokonyane outlined how the provincial government has fared in implementing its programme of action in the last two quarters of the current financial year. In March, the provincial executive council adopted a programme of action to ensure: quality basic education; a long and healthy life for all; safety for all; decent employment; and, sustainable human settlements, among others.

But Mokonyane conceded that while the province had made inroads in the fight against crime a big concern was on crimes related to violence on women and children.

 

The premier said the Gauteng’s significant increase of 2.9 million people between 2001 and 2011 presented her government with challenges and opportunities of equal measure.

 

Following the Lenasia housing demolition saga that has pitted government against residents in the area, Mokonyane promised help for those who never owned a house or benefited from any government housing subsidy. She said to expand access to housing to thousands in the gap market, the province had approved the implementation of a finance-linked individual subsidy programme.

Pretoria News Weekend


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