Health department fails to spend R1bn

2011-08-31 12:08

The KwaZulu-Natal health department has failed to spend R1.4 billion set aside for infrastructure projects.

I can confirm that R1.4 billion for infrastructure projects has been returned to the national government, said department spokesperson Chris Maxon.

He said it was taken back to the central government because the projects were not started.

Yesterday, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) picketed outside Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital raising concerns that the money had been lost.

Nehawu provincial secretary Zola Saphetha said the money had been earmarked for filling vacant posts.We have been told that the national government took the R1.4 billion back two weeks ago because the department failed to use it, he said.

He said the union was concerned because the department faced serious shortages of staff such as doctors, nurses and skilled managers.

Maxon stressed that the money was for infrastructure projects.Yesterday the department reported to the legislature that the process of filling critical posts was slow due to the shortage of people with the necessary skills, he said.

Saphetha said the union would fight for the money to be returned to KwaZulu-Natal.

We want the R1.4 billion back. We need it in this province, said Saphetha.

KwaZulu-Natal needed to fill critical posts because some posts were occupied by people who did not have relevant qualifications and suitable skills, he said.

We have managers who only have matric and some have teaching qualifications. These issues need to be addressed.

It is a pity that the money has gone back to the national government, he said.

Saphetha said his union was also concerned with the private companies doing business with government.

Outsourcing and the privatisation of the support functions has created a state of paralysis and dejection in the provincial health sector with both workers and citizens getting a raw deal from the powers that be.

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