The administrative section of the Eastern Cape Department of Health has been without Telkom services for the last two weeks due to an account which is R27,5 million in arrears.

Dysfunctional financial management has brought the department to its knees.

Last month the DA exposed the fact that the Eastern Cape Department of Health was bankrupt two months before the end of the financial year despite stern warnings. During the December plenary session in the Legislature we stated that the department would run out funds due to unmandated payments to provincial employees, commonly known as the Human Resource Operating Team (HROPT) and for Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD). At the last count the department was R1,8 billion in the red.

This is a shocking and unacceptable state of affairs in a department that has been underfunded and poorly managed for years. Once again long suffering service providers will not be paid.

Last year the Health Department ran out of money and could not pay its suppliers for the last three months of the financial year, resulting in over R700 million in unpaid accounts being carried over from 2008/09 to 2009/10.

This ongoing mismanagement has crippled health services in the province, and will especially affect the poor, whole are wholly reliant on the state healthcare system.

The DA welcomes reports in the media that the department had asked Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to intervene. However, we urge the MEC for Health to follow-up on these promises to ensure that some stability is restored in his department as a matter of urgency.

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