Hospitals in Limpopo verge on collapse

2012-02-19 18:45

Johannesburg - Limpopo hospitals are teetering on the brink of disaster as they bear the brunt of the provincial health department’s financial collapse.

Official documents obtained by City Press show that the health department blew R400m on irregular expenditure and it couldn’t show who was to receive about R2.8bn which it had committed to paying for contracts.

The report reveals a litany of collapsed or non-existent controls involving millions of rands. It also exposes a flagrant disregard for financial management, public finance laws and legal obligations.

The report with its damning revelations was compiled by the Auditor General last March, but City Press only managed to obtain a copy last week.

It is unclear what, if anything, was done over the last year to rectify the mess outlined in the audit report.

In the next two weeks, the accounting officers of various provincial departments, including health, face a grilling before the Limpopo legislature’s public accounts oversight committee as the search for answers continues.

Last week at Lebowakgomo Hospital, 40km outside Polokwane, staff spoke of how they were so desperate for basic supplies that they had raided the institution’s emergency room.

Chronic illnesses

“We have no choice because we have to do our jobs. We even have to hide gloves from each other because they are fast running out,” said one doctor.

Another doctor spoke of the critical shortage of medicines for chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, as well as basic supplies like painkillers running out.

Media24 Investigations spoke to doctors who asked not to be named at hospitals in rural Limpopo as well as in Polokwane.

All had desperate tales to tell.

“I saw one patient transferred to Polokwane Hospital from a hospital in the rural areas who had not urinated for six hours because they don’t have catheters there,” said a Polokwane Hospital doctor. “You can imagine the agony that person went through.”

The doctors said they were also running out of life-saving equipment such as intercostal chest drains, used to drain blood in punctured lungs and broken ribs.

One doctor at Lebowakgomo Hospital said they were battling to perform major bone operations as the “C-arm” machine (used for imaging during surgical procedures) was not working and could not be serviced as all procurements and services are on hold.

Conditions deteriorating

Nehawu Limpopo chairperson Mike Shingange said conditions in hospitals were deteriorating because of poor procurement practices by the department.

“We wouldn’t be in this situation if there were proper controls and measures in place. This problem has been ongoing since 2009 because there was no regard for processes. Instead people gave tenders to politically connected individuals who were paid as they pleased,” said Shingange.

Limpopo Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairperson, Derrick Ngobeni, said accounting officers would be hauled before the committee on February 27 to account for the shocking state of affairs.

“We are extremely worried that the department has engaged in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure as stated by the AG. We are going to demand answers from the accounting officers and drastic action must be taken.

There is the possibility that there is more to what the AG discovered,” said Ngobeni.

The provincial health department is one of five which have been placed under administration by Treasury after it ran up a budget deficit of about R2bn.

The Limpopo health department did not respond to requests for comment.

  • Ben - 2012-02-19 19:15

    But did people from the central government not go there to handle this and get the mess sorted out. Being a hospital, this is an urgent matter. If not at all possible, there is always the Iternational Red Cross.

  • brenda.vanrensburg - 2012-02-19 19:17

    What is scary is that they want to take more money from the taxpayers and pump it into a system that is not working. NHI is not going to work if the mismanagement of funds that are going to the healthcare is not corrected.

  • jacques.koorts - 2012-02-19 19:19

    "accounting officers would be hauled before the committee on February 27" Kom hierso laat ek julle met die houtlepel pak gee! Hou op die geld steel ok? Die mense kyk vir ons. That's whats basically going to happen - slap on the wrist.

  • Larry - 2012-02-19 19:22

    As everything else in Limpopo is collapsing, its not surprising that the Health service is among them. Another ANC story. They have again proven what a corrupt bunch of incompetents they are.

  • rowen.loretz - 2012-02-19 19:22

    this is not surprising as state hospitals can't be managed properly in South Africa. The hospitals don't even know who to pay for the services they receive. What a joke...and the want to roll out a national health insurance program...imagine what a disaster that will be. If you don't have private health care in SA, well are pretty much screwed.

      rowen.loretz - 2012-02-19 19:23

      Malema must also have stolen a heck of alot of money as well. tenderpreneurial ....he needs his bling!

  • Djim - 2012-02-19 19:23

    The anc can do "grilling" as much as they want, there won’t be any skin off these thief’s noses as these became multi millionaires and don't need a job from you or anybody else anymore!

  • Tiron - 2012-02-19 19:32

    Now the ANC want more taxes to pay for National Health! Imagine how much corruption will THEN take place. The corruption cake will double every couple of years. (hold on to your Medical aids!!!!!)

      Ian - 2012-02-19 19:50

      hell yes, first thing i pay every month, my medical aid

  • Comrade - 2012-02-19 19:36

    the cANCer knew about this years ago...and done NOTHING.....Limpopo is the sign of thing to come. cANCer is a terminal disease.

  • Johan Grobbelaar - 2012-02-19 19:42

    Carry on voting ANC. I feel rocks. Lol.

  • Pierre - 2012-02-19 19:43

    Some people work for a living. Other people vote for a living ...

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-02-19 19:52

    How much crap can SA/ANC citizens tolerate before they get completely fed up?!

      Bluemast - 2012-02-20 02:22

      Only difference is brainwashed cANCer voters won't know the difference anymore it has been going on for too long already!

  • Assis - 2012-02-19 19:56

    Pathetic !

  • Herbert - 2012-02-19 20:01

    Let the ANC STRUGGLE continue !!!! Struggle to manage, struggle to govern, struggle to put two and two together and realise you only get four and not forty!!!! When will they ever realise that they are incompetent? I hope that the MEC is suspended and that Health Directorate is stripped of all management duties and decision making!

  • TaniaSandraSteyn - 2012-02-19 20:06

    If any/all of the tenderpreneurs and hospital administrators live above their means. please let Thuli nvestigate. They should be forced to pay back all the moneythey stole, and work cleaning hospitals to pay for their sins - without a wage. Enough! Hold people accoutable for their misdeeds. I cannot miss ONE payment on my Municipal account without accruing interest and receiving threatening sms's. I am tired of the fact that the imbalances of the past are being redressed every day, but the population don't have a clue.

      pws69 - 2012-02-19 20:29

      She can't. The Zuma government refuse to give her the funds to investigate.

      Bluemast - 2012-02-20 02:27

      @pas - but always enough money for banquets hey! What a shame that they cannot even look after their own supporters and their constitutional medical rights!

  • Riedwaan Jefferies - 2012-02-19 20:15

    Can the ANC spell - CLEAN FINANCIAL AUDIT? One thing the Govt. is good at, is collecting the taxes to fund all this corruption!

      Tokoloshe - 2012-02-19 21:21

      If only all government departments can be run like SARS, it is very efficient at collecting taxes. But then again, SARS and the Asset Forfeiture Unit turns a blind eye to the wealthy and corrupt political mafia.

      Bluemast - 2012-02-20 02:32

      @tokoloshe - haven't you read the news on the huge SARS fraud syndicate just exposed, even the manager involved and many more to be brought out of their hiding places - As my mother said, take sweets from no one!

  • pws69 - 2012-02-19 20:15

    Limpopo Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairperson, Derrick Ngobeni, said accounting officers would be hauled before the committee on February 27 to account for the shocking state of affairs. It took SCOPA THREE YEARS to decide to take some action?

  • pws69 - 2012-02-19 20:33

    How can you not know where THREE BILLION RAND (R3,000,000,000-00) has/is being spent? Are these ANC thieves now so arrogantly secure in the knowledge they will get voted for they can't even be bother to make an effort to cover their tracks. Hand up all of you who think they will have R30 million to retire on after a lifetime of HONEST work? Hand up all of you who think they can build a R16 MILLION house in Sandton today, after "working" for only three years (like Malema has done). Screw it, hands up all of you who have a car and house that is fully paid for.

  • William - 2012-02-19 20:37

    Theres only one way of fixing this problem. BRING IN THE D.A....They will fix it!!!!!

      Bluemast - 2012-02-20 02:36

      DA- You rock!

  • Morama - 2012-02-19 20:38

    ANC=incompetance and useless filthy politicalparty.i am speechlesbut just keep on asking myself as to why the majority of limpopo would still vote for anc to kill them....ANC should be charged with murder due to this crap they are doing to the law abiding citizens!!!

  • Lloyd Lucas - 2012-02-19 21:01

    This is a case of getting what you ask for. Limpopo have asked for the anc to govern. And....this is how the anc there you go!

  • Sian Leigh Olivier - 2012-02-19 21:06

    Mokopane hospital doesn't even have toilet paper but another thing it doesn't cost the staff anything to be a little friendly !!

      TaniaSandraSteyn - 2012-02-19 21:47

      Sian, they used up the toilet paper wiping the smiles from their faces...!

  • Makatikamusona - 2012-02-19 21:50

    Hospitals in Limpopo verge on collapse? Well forget that one, how is the Limpopo Health department different from any other province because they can't pay suppliers

  • Polotic - 2012-02-19 21:58

    Now one can understand why one in five looking for hospital treatment come from other provinces and African countries to the Western Cape. The hospital services are wqorking under the DA government. Also, why is it that 8000 people are moving to the Western Cape every month? Because everything works and we have clean government.

      Bluemast - 2012-02-20 02:42

      Polotic - now you know who to vote for next time don't you - spread the news! Let this be a lesson to you all!!!!

  • Mboneni - 2012-02-19 22:13

    There is no reason why patients had to suffer or die in hospital.This is a life saving institution,and the poor in rural areas depended on the dept of health to maintain and save lives.The president and all ministers,mec and mayors,must be treated in rural hospitals and their children must also be educated in rural schools.The ANC only service or promise to serve rural communities in election time,thereaftere they will be busy corrupting the state

      Bluemast - 2012-02-20 02:44

      You will find it under the bed standing in bricks in mall-lemas house in Sandton .............!

  • Bluemast - 2012-02-20 02:03

    Now I pose the question - the money recently spent on all the alcohol and no sheets for the "Bring & Braai" - what difference could this have meant to these hospitals, even if it meant upgrading just one to an acceptable level! What a shame the rulers of the country are! You should be ashamed of yourselves - self-centered people. How can you go to bed at night with a clear conscience? You wouldn't care a f.....c.. because you go to the countries best private hospitals .... to hell with the people who voted you into power! What a total shame......

  • brionyl.french - 2012-02-20 06:07


  • Bluemast - 2012-02-20 07:00

    What reaction do you expect from me on this one - ooooohhhhhh, "I am so surprised....." NOT!

  • Nigel - 2012-02-20 08:01

    thanks to the ANC & the ANCYL cronies, stealing from their own people to fill their pockets.....when will their supporters wake up, when its too late I fear.

  • Janette - 2012-02-20 08:19

    It seems that all the Govt hospitals are the same. King edward in Durban is a filthy mess.My mom had the misfortune of having to be a patient at King Edward. The staff were lazy, the wards were dirty, no privacy for the patients ( they just made them get out of bed and changed them in front of everyone (males and female visitors)The lifts were full of blood stains, vomit and empty food packets and were not cleaned for the 4 weeks that she was there. Keep your medical Aid going even after you retire you don't want to end up in one of the state hospitals.

  • Alfred - 2012-02-20 08:21

    What does the HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HEALTH gets paid for?

      diebaba.mmotla - 2012-02-20 10:29

      He is paid to burn alcohol adverts

  • Monica - 2012-02-20 10:35

    Name and shame!!

  • drpeterstuart - 2012-05-07 11:45

    Welcome to the NHI

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