R67 million paid to staff of EC hospital closed two years ago

Issued by Jane Cowley MPL – DA EC Shadow MEC for Health
13 Jul 2023 in News

Note to editors: You can download a sound clip in English from Jane Cowley MPL

The Eastern Cape Department of Health has paid out R67 million in salaries to staff at the Orsmond Tuberculosis Hospital in Kariega, despite this hospital being closed to patients for almost two years.

This shocking revelation was made in response to a parliamentary question from the DA, where the Department acknowledged that while the hospital has had no patients for almost two years, forty-five medical employees refused to be allocated to other medical facilities in the district, despite this being agreed to by their unions.

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Hospitals and clinics across the province are dealing with dire staff shortages, which has crippled service delivery to patients in critical need of healthcare. Instead of filling these vacant posts, the Department pays staff at a defunct institution millions for absolutely no work.

Over the past two years, these employees have notched up salaries over R67 million for doing nothing. This flagrant disregard for the taxpayer’s purse is an absolute disgrace!

I have written to Health MEC, Nomakosazana Meth, to demand that this matter be addressed immediately.

This Department is not only factually bankrupt but morally bankrupt too.

To date, no steps have been taken to discipline these employees, and it is unlikely that any action will be taken against them. We are all painfully aware of the government’s distaste for disciplining cadres.

They would rather watch the system crumble around them, which is exactly what we are witnessing now.

The hospital has an X-ray machine worth millions of Rands and other life-saving equipment which could be used elsewhere.

It is no wonder that the outgoing Health Ombudsman says that the Eastern Cape Department of Health is an embarrassment.

The Department’s continued financial mismanagement, mismanagement of resources and failure to discipline non-compliant employees does not augur well for the future. Our citizens deserve better.

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