It warned Parliament on Wednesday that the multibillion rand budget shortfall would impact on hiring doctors and nurses. And these, it said, were critical posts.
Precious Matsoso, the director-general in the department, told MPs the budget cuts would impact on the delivery of essential services.
She said certain things needed to be prioritised - and warned of a looming crisis unless something was done.
Matsoso made her call for extra cash while briefing the joint committees on health and appropriations.
“The reality is that we have to make a decision whether health is delivered in this country or not,” she said.