DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom Picture: Antoine de Ras
Johannesburg - The Gauteng Health Department owes R2.58 billion in total to the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS), and underpays about R64m every month for medical tests said Jack Bloom DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

This was revealed on Tuesday by Gauteng Health MEC, Gwen Ramokgopa, at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.

Bloom said according to Ramokgopa R2.58 billion is owing to the NHLS dating back more than three years, but R1.5bn of this is disputed, based on a report by Gobodo that was commissioned by National Treasury.

Bloom said the Gobodo report found irregularities that include false and duplicate billing, destroyed requisition forms and interest charged on invoices.

“The Gauteng Health Department has been billed R1bn for tests from January to July this year, but has only paid R554m of this.”

“This means that it is underpaying about R64m to the NHLS every month, which is adding to its debt and financial woes - the NHLS says that it will run out of money by October this year because of outstanding money owed by provincial health departments,” Bloom said.

“The NHLS's lack of money was a contributing factor to the recent strike by its workers. Ramokgopa said there is a process to pay the debt to NHLS, but the continuing underpayment worsens the problem.”

“The Gauteng Health Department is notorious for late payments. It should tighten its financial management and pay all bills on time,” Bloom said.