Dr Gwen Ramokgopa Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Health has once again come under fire for racking up R1.7 billion in irregular expenditure as well as "disregarding the necessary controls to curb irregular and wasteful spending".

This comes after the Auditor-General’s report on the department for the 2017/18 period, in which the department was rebuked for lack of controls, unreliable information, and racking up irregular expenditure of R1.7 billion and fruitless as well as wasteful expenditure of R38 million, according to the DA's Jack Bloom.

The report was tabled last month in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to Bloom, the AG disclaimed “the usefulness and reliability of the reported performance information” and said that “senior management did not ensure that sufficient controls are in place to prepare accurate and complete financial statements and performance reports that are supported and evidenced by reliable information.”

"Furthermore, 'there was a lack of monitoring controls to ensure compliance with laws and regulations including procurement and contract management, expenditure management and revenue management'.

Bloom further said: "The department is criticised for not taking effective steps to prevent irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure".

Most of the irregular expenditure was reportedly caused by procurement of goods and services without following competitive bidding processes while a large part of the wasted expenditure was due to interest levied on overdue accounts.

Additionally, the report noted that “various investigations, based on the allegations of procurement irregularities, fraud, theft and negligence, are being performed by the department dating back from prior periods".

Bloom said he was disappointed that so little progress has been made in fixing the management of department, which he said never recovered from the rampant corruption under Brian Hlongwa's tenure as Health MEC.

"Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa should be fired for her manifold failures, including the deaths of babies from hospital-acquired infections and the unsafe conditions that led to the disastrous fire at her head office," he said.

Details of the irregular expenditure include the following:

  • R679 million on security contracts;
  • R119 million on over-expenditure on employee compensation;
  • R91 million on supply chain processes not followed;
  • R91 million on outsourced nursing staff; and
  • R3.8 million on Mental Health NGOs, which the SIU is investigating

The Gauteng Department of Health did not respond to media queries.