KZN Health cutting costs after overspending R1,2 bln

2008-10-14 00:00

The KZN Health Department has denied that it is already over budget for the current 2008/09 financial year.

Acting head Yolisa Mbele told the KZN legislature’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) that, contrary to recent reports, the department is “currently sitting with a positive cashflow”.

The department is working at addressing the R1,2 billion over-expenditure incurred during the last financial year — most of it in staff payments.

She added that the national department found that the KZN department had been underfunded by R3,15 billion

Chief financial officer Sipho Buthelezi said a number of cost-cutting measures have been put in place by the department, which is working closely with the KZN Treasury.

These include the review of the department’s employment trends and cutting down on expenditure on “non-critical” goods and services.

“We are seeing numbers reducing in terms of the people we are employing,” said Buthelezi.

However, he gave the assurance that the department will continue to fill posts deemed to be critical such as clinical posts and key finance and HR posts. Buthelezi added that the department is also “tightening up on some benefits” like overtime.

Apart from ambulances and mobile clinics, the department will not buy new vehicles this year, while the construction of some buildings and the acquisition of non-critical machinery and equipment will be delayed until next year.

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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