Battle for subsidies

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg faces financial problems. Photo: Tracey Adams

Community organisations that provide home-based care on behalf of the provincial Department of Health are struggling to run some of their services or pay caregivers because of delayed subsidies, says the Cape Metro Health Forum.

Chairwoman Damaris Kiewiets said the forum had received reports from some of the non-profit organisations (NPOs) that complained they were not receiving their monthly government subsidies on time.

Kiewiets said despite promises by the department to settle the funds owed last month, many had still not been paid.

As well affecting the organisations’ services, the late subsidies meant the NPOs could not pay their community care workers, who assisted medical patients, including those who had tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and mental illness.

But the department said it had not received any official complaints from the NPOs about the non-payment.

Department spokeswoman Faiza Steyn said payments were made to organisations within 30 days of receipt of claims, unless claims were incomplete or there were non-compliance issues.

Steyn said that although the department had not received official complaints, there could be various reasons why advance payments had not been made yet.

These included, among other things, non or late submissions of requests for advanced funding, late submission of assurance certificates, and late closing of previous year’s books.

Steyn said the department funded about 144 organisations in the province with a budget of about R200 million.

Kiewiets insisted that a “substantial number” of NPOs had not received their subsidies after they were told that there was a “technical glitch” with the department system, but many of these organisations were scared to go public for fear of losing their funding.

“We know for a fact that some community care workers had been affected negatively by the non-payments.”

[email protected]

Cape Argus


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