Prevent Limpopo health collapse - Nehawu
Johannesburg - Trade union Nehawu on Thursday called on national government to prevent Limpopo's health sector from collapsing.
Some hospitals in Limpopo reportedly had food shortages because service providers were not paid.
"Unfortunately all of these reckless activities are going to cost patients their lives because they cannot take medication on an empty stomach," National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.
"Our union calls on the national department of health and Treasury to intervene before the collapse of the whole health sector due to inefficiencies by Limpopo provincial administration.
"Unfortunately this crisis will greatly affect the poor communities, who cannot provide food for their loved ones, and those who are on special diets because of their health conditions."
The Cabinet put the province under administration in December after it emerged that Limpopo was bankrupt and could not pay civil servants, such as teachers and nurses.
In the health department:
- the province owed suppliers R138m, but only half these payments, R67m, could be verified and approved for payment by December 23;
- R427m in assets had no supporting documents;
- there was R400m in irregular expenditure of goods and services, mostly medical equipment.
Pamla said this "justified" Nehawu's concern that the provincial health department was being mismanaged.
"We had hoped that last year's provincial cabinet reshuffle was going to bring much needed changes and transparency in the department. Unfortunately this proves that nothing has changed and the situation has gotten worse."
The finance ministry on Thursday said Limpopo faced a potential shortfall of R2bn at the end of the financial year.
The province had unauthorised expenditure which grew from R1.5bn in 2009 to R2.7bn 2011.
Pamla said law enforcement agencies had to investigate the allegations that had been made. Those responsible should be held accountable.