North West Health's 'incompetence' exposed during raid for missing invoices
Rustenburg - The North West Department of Health owes at least 50 companies millions of rand for supply of medicine, MEC Madoda Sambatha said.
"We owe companies who are the suppliers of medical depot. As a result, we are unable to get enough supply of medicine from the same companies because we owe them," he said in a statement.
He said the a team from the provincial head office led by administrator Jeanette Hunter raided offices at the Mmabatho medical depot on Wednesday.
The raid uncovered unpaid invoices of 50 companies worth millions. Some of the unpaid invoices date back to 2014.
"One unpaid invoice that was found at the medical depot in a drawer was worth more than R16m. The department can confirm that all the invoices will be verified before payment be processed," he said.
He said when the administration team arrived in the department in 2018 the stock level of essential medicine was at 64 percent and it was improved to about 85 percent through intervention.
The level started dropping at the beginning of the year and some companies stopped delivering medicine in March 2020 citing non-payment of invoices.
The stock levels did not change despite money being made available in April 2020, he said.
"The department then got technical assistance to speed up payment of suppliers. Through that intervention it has come to the attention of the department that a number of invoices are missing.
"The medical depot could not pay companies as invoices were missing. As a result, companies stopped supplying medication, which has affected stock level at the medical depot."
A decision was then made to raid the offices and block workers from accessing the depot and unpaid invoices were recovered in the process.
"There are people who are employed to process invoices by the provincial government and they are not doing their job. This technically leads to unavailability of medicine in the medical depot."
He said a plan on how to catch up with payment of suppliers would be made.
"This will lead to improved availability of medicine which will then be delivered to clinics and hospitals, where they are needed the most."