Eastern Cape Health on the verge of collapse

The failing ANC government has brought the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape to the brink of collapse, with the Auditor General (AG) raising serious concerns over its financial sustainability in its recently tabled Annual Report for the 2017/18 financial year.

This stems from a staggering contingent liability of R24,326 billion, which constitutes mostly of medico-legal claims (24.193 billion).

This contingent liability has risen by a jaw dropping R 7,575 billion from the previous financial year’s R16,751 billion, and is R1,990 billion more than the Department’s entire 2017/18 budget (R22,336 billion).

The AG also revealed irregular expenditure of R283 million, of which R255,6 million was incurred in the year under review.

An audit on key performance indicators for district and provincial services, also showed the Department had inflated reported successes, with several indicators having to be revised downwards.

The AG found that the Department did not keep adequate records and was therefore unable to obtain appropriate auditing evidence in some instances, while in others the supporting documentation contradicted the information in the report.

Other findings of the AG include:

  • Poor expenditure management
  • corrupt contract management practices
  • significant deficiencies in internal control mechanisms
  • ineffective records management systems
  • an ineffective compliance monitoring process
  • Management’s poor response to recommendations made by the audit committee and internal audit unit.

These findings are damning and need to be addressed urgently and aggressively if the Department of Health is ever to recover.

Employees who fail to follow processes according to the law must be relieved of their duties. Managers who fail to implement recommendations by the audit committee must face the consequences.

Officials who wittingly award infrastructure contracts to friends and family by using maiden surnames or clan names must be removed from the system.

Until the political leadership in the province develops the will to clean house and rid itself of corrupt cadres, the citizens will continue to be on the receiving end of substandard services.

In the Western Cape, the DA government built seven new primary health care facilities in the rural areas in this year alone. This is what can be achieved when nobody has their fingers in the till.

The Democratic Alliance will continue to expose corruption and poor financial management in our province, particularly when it impacts negatively on the health services rendered to our people.