Gauteng health department pays its debt
Johannesburg - The Gauteng department of health has paid over R700m it owed to health service providers in the province, a spokesperson said on Sunday.
"The total amount that was disbursed by Friday for urgent payments amounts to R736m," said Simon Zwane.
The National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS), which is responsible for diagnostic tests, including tests related to HIV and TB [tuberculosis] was owed over R700m.
"A total of R386m was paid for medical supplies, while R150m was paid to NHLS and a further R50m was paid to South African National Blood Service," he said.
"In the coming week, the Gauteng provincial team will initiate a process of negotiating with individual service providers around the payment plans towards redeeming debt owed to suppliers," said Zwane.
The Democratic Alliance reported in January that the shortfall in payments to the NHLS resulted in the halting of training of technicians and the closing down of labs in an effort to save costs while awaiting payment.
Zwane said the provincial government had identified "a potential R1bn in cash to pay for service providers in the Gauteng health department".
This would result in a R1.6bn to be paid by the end of March.
"We would like to reiterate that the department is fully aware and committed to meeting all its past and future obligations to its suppliers," said Zwane.