Friday, 7 September 2012

Massive underspending in South Africa's public hospitals

Five provinces under-spent on public hospital infrastructure to the tune of about R800 million last year, according to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
Sapa 2012-09-06 16:36:50
In a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Thursday, he said at the end of March this year, spending on government's R4 billion hospital revitalisation grant was "at 79 percent of the total allocation".

The provinces affected included:

-- Eastern Cape, which spent R169 million of R361 million allocated (47 percent);

-- Free State, which spent R244 million of R378 million (65 percent);

-- KwaZulu-Natal, which spent R273 million of R501 million (54 percent);

-- Limpopo, which spent R234 million of R323 million (72 percent); and,

-- Northern Cape, which spent R262 million of R420 million.

Motsoaledi said the under-spending stemmed from projects being delayed as a result of poor quality work by contractors, poor management of build programmes and land allocation problems.

Steps had been taken to correct the situation, including the appointment of technical advisers and engineers.

"The national department... together with National Treasury are also engaging in the process of reviewing provincial capacity," he said.

The question was posed by the Democratic Alliance. In a statement later on Thursday, DA health spokeswoman Patricia Kopane warned the underspending was jeopardising health care in these regions.

"Behind the numbers lies a crumbling infrastructure with serious and, in some cases, life-threatening consequences for patients," she said.