The North West health department has been described as on the verge of collapse by the provincial legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development.

The committee lambasted the department for carrying on with business as usual, despite worrying conditions in the province’s healthcare system.

At the top of the committee’s complaints expressed during a meeting with the auditor general, was the department’s negligent issuing of overtime payments to doctors and nurses without any proof for hours worked.

“It’s not possible that you can pay monies without documented proof that the overtime was taken. You cannot even produce records to indicate how those hours were accumulated,” said committee chairperson, Gaoage Molapisi in a statement on Tuesday.

Molapisi also said a R600 million cash injection was requested by the department to curb a shortfall in maintenance and to stabilise operations.

However the committee has given it 14 days to submit a detailed report on how it plans to use the funds requested from the Provincial Treasury to stabilise operations at the department.

The North West health department has come under fire from organised labour and activists in the past for a myriad of issues that included the non availability of medication in their pharmacies.

The department was not immediately available for comment.

Labour Bureau