Health Dept warns of R500 mln shortfall

2012-03-16 00:00

DESPITE receiving a R6,1 billion infrastructure budget, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health is projecting a budget shortfall of R500 million this financial year.

Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo told the KZN Legislature’s finance portfolio committee that the department’s infrastructure budget allocation was insufficient to clear the maintenance and capital infrastructure backlog.

“The calculated infrastructure budget shortfall based on the listed projects planned in the current financial year is R500 million and R1 billion in the 2013 financial year.”

Dhlomo said his department’s backlog was due to the fact that a number of clinics and hospitals needed to be built across the province. Among them were two hospitals, Dr Pixley ka-Isaka Seme in KwaMashu and Dr John Dube in Inanda, which was announced more than five years ago.

Dhlomo said some of the planned projects might be temporarily halted this financial year “because we don’t want to build with money we don’t have”.

For the time being mobile clinics would be used to provide healthcare in areas where the department had planned to construct clinics but had been prevented by budget constraints.

KZN Health Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said the department would have to go back to the drawing board and re-prioritise infrastructure projects it had planned for this financial year.

The Department of Public Works is expected to implement almost 60% of the Health Department’s projected infrastructure this year, with Health implementing 16,9%, and the Independent Development Trust implementing 23,1%.

The balance is allocated to the Ithala Development Finance Corporation and the Department of Transport, which each got less than a percent of the budget.

The department yesterday outlined to the finance committee its 10-point plan of priorities to improve the quality of life for the citizens of the province, including a target to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV to zero percent by the 2014/2015 financial year.

Health received over R26 billion this financial year, which translates into an overall increase in the equitable share of eight percent, or R1,5billion.

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