Health Department wastes R1.3 billion of health budget

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
12 Oct 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

Yesterday, the Auditor-General (AG) of South Africa highlighted the Department of Health’s irregular expenditure of R1.3 billion the past financial year – an increase of 42% from the year before.

To put that into perspective: according to the Department’s annual report, the total expenditure for employee compensation in 2021/22 was R 848 million. That means the Department could have completely eradicated the personnel shortages if it simply rooted out corruption and implemented effective monitoring systems.

By far most of the wasted money is due to a variety of issues pertaining to the non-compliance of procurement processes, supply-chain management (SCM) prescripts and contract monitoring controls.

The AG also highlighted the lack of consequence management within the Department of Health (DoH) and its entities.

Essentially, the Department and the entities reporting to it is unable to properly manage projects in a legally compliant way and when the projects inevitably cross into dodgy territory, officials responsible for this ludicrous state of affairs are not held accountable.

Sadly, this has become part and parcel of the Department’s DNA, and it is for this very reason that the DA vehemently opposes the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill. The AG’s report has proven in black and white what DA oversight visits and engagement with the health sector have continuously called attention to – the ANC government cannot be trusted to use taxpayers’ money for the benefit of all South Africans.

For decades now, the public health sector has steadily declined under ANC governance – infrastructure is not maintained or updated, equipment is outdated or broken, severe staff shortages continues to persist despite annual empty promises, and corruption thrive. When these issues are raised, whistleblowers are callously persecuted and some pay with their lives like Babita Deokaran.

The Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, and the ANC government cannot even obtain a remotely clean audit for the Health Department yet want to have every single finger in the NHI cookie jars. The AG’s report is the clearest indication yet that if the NHI were to be implemented, it would lead to a total systematic collapse of the health system and a human rights crisis.