HEALTH AND TREASURY TO PAY SALARIES: DAILY DISPATCH

THE Eastern Cape government has put in motion a process to resolve financial challenges faced by the troubled health department.

This comes after department and treasury officials met to resolve their differences on Tuesday in the wake of reports that relations between health and finance bosses had reached “boiling point”.

Addressing the portfolio committee on health, MEC Sicelo Gqobana said the meeting had set up processes under the leadership of Eastern Cape director-general Mbulelo Sogoni, who would convene the two departments.

Gqobana said he and finance MEC Phumulo Masualle had expressed commitment to the payment of the department’s personnel who are owed salaries.

“All that was decided was health must assist by providing documentation to enable treasury to do the approvals,” Gqobana said.

“So any misunderstanding, if there is any, or misinterpretation, must be ironed out when these departments come together under the directorgeneral Mr Sogoni.”

Asked if any supporting documents had been submitted to treasury, Gqobana said a submission was made to treasury to process the payments last week.

Gqobana said his department met the doctors to explain the situation.

“We sent a delegation to meet doctors and to indicate to them the challenges we go through,” he said, adding his department had already lost a pharmacist from Graaff-reinet to a Port Elizabeth-based company due to non-payment of salaries.

The Democratic Alliance said if health and education continued to overspend their budgets, there would be instability in the province’s finances.

“This will derail service delivery not only in these two departments but across all other departments as they will be forced to make savings to cover the huge potential deficits,” the DA’S Bobby Stevenson said.

He said the entire cabinet should support treasury’s efforts to tighten management of finances.

“Without strong political leadership, the province will continue to lurch from one financial crisis to another,” said Stevenson. — mayibongwem@