The Gauteng Health department owes R2.8 billion to 2 093 companies going back more than six months, the DA's Jack Bloom said. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - The Gauteng health department owes R2.8 billion to 2,093 companies going back more than six months, the Democratic Alliance said on Thursday, citing an oral response to questions in the provincial legislature from member of the executive council Bandile Masuku.

Some 505 companies are owed for more than a year, with the oldest debt going back to 2010, DA Gauteng shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom said in a statement.

"According to Masuku, the total amount of accrued debt stood at R4.8 billion in April at the beginning of the 2019/20 financial year," Bloom said.

"He says that payment plans have been arranged with the largest debtors and all debts would be settled in the next two years. This would include R1.2 billion owed to the National Health Laboratory Service.

Bloom said he was concerned that the debt overhang eating into the current budget would take a large slice from next year’s budget as well.

Many jobs were lost because of late payment by government departments and some companies refused to deal with the Gauteng health department because of its poor payment record, he added.

African News Agency (ANA)