No lifeboat for Gauteng health suppliers

2011-12-11 18:45

Johannesburg - The DA once called for Gauteng Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe to chain herself to the door of the national Treasury and not leave until she got a bailout to pay hundreds of hospital suppliers.

It could be a long chaining session if Mekgwe decided to do it.

Cabinet made it clear last week that the embattled department should forget about any bailouts from the national Treasury.

Gauteng’s health department owes its hospital suppliers R2.5bn. Some of the claims date as far back as 2005.

As the issue escalates, hospital suppliers are being forced to cut down on staff to keep their companies afloat.

One supplier, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, said her company had reached a point where the only option to survive was to retrench staff.

“We are a very small company. These non-payments are severely affecting our cash flow. We are unable to meet our commitments and pay staff.

“If no solution is reached on this issue, we will be forced to retrench more people or probably close shop,” she said.

Another supplier, who is owed more than R500 000 by the department, said if things continued this way, he might also have to retrench a few members of his staff.


“What I find ironic with this situation is that the national government is telling companies to create jobs for people. On the other hand, the provincial government is forcing small companies to close down because of non-payment.”

Health department spokesperson Simon Zwane acknowledged that the impact of non-payment was severe for small companies.

“As one of the interventions, the department has committed to prioritising payments due to small and medium businesses. All companies owed less than R1m will be paid from the R200m made available by the provincial finance department,” he said.

Zwane said going forward, more money to pay suppliers would be made available from various provincial departments.

About R400m expected to be released by the departments in April next year.

Provincial DA caucus leader Jack Bloom welcomed the contribution from other departments, but said it was not enough.

“Already, companies are refusing to supply hospitals, and patients are the ones who suffer.

“The dialysis unit at Helen Joseph Hospital, for instance, is using impure water because the company that sterilises the water has not been paid,” Bloom said.

Zwane could not immediately confirm if this was indeed the case.

  • Dmitri - 2011-12-11 19:54


  • Mabel - 2011-12-11 19:57

    And these are the palookas who instend running a National Health Scheme. There are millions who will go without proper medical care because bills aren't paid. It makes me sick on my stomach'

  • oddearring - 2011-12-11 20:25

    I once got approached by a provincial government with an order. All I had to do was fill in the forms to go on the database and the order was mine. I told them to f**k off. The person who took the order got burned and lost her business in the process.

  • eben.ferreira1 - 2011-12-11 20:44

    My business had on several occasions been approached by local goverment departments to supply certain goods we manufacture. Every time I have insisted on being paid before the goods leave the Factory. Every time they have told me that they do not operate that way. Every time I have told them to find another supplier. I refuse to do business their way.

  • Rob - 2011-12-12 08:18

    Is this really suprising considering the hand-out mentality you see everywhere in SA and around the African continent. Buy now - pay later - pay never if you can get away with it. Does that strike a cord? The 'collective' mentality and total lack of accountabiity means that this becomes yet another redistribution tactic, moving wealth from businesses into back pockets with zero chance of redress. Of course, if you know somebody you may well get something! NHI?????? Better learn how to work this non-system or take your assets off-shore.

  • janet.pretorius1 - 2011-12-12 08:31

    ... and the ANC think they are competent enough and have enough self control to introduce NHI! Shame on those private companies who manipulated the figures to support the idea - probably with the hope that they would be first in line for the gov tenders created by the NHI.

      George - 2011-12-12 12:22

      Arora mine springs to mind and who was running it

  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-12 09:53

    The face of things to come, this is the path that the national health plan will take, the difference being that government will be stealing billions extra in taxpayer contributions. The ANC has achieved absolutely nothing in 18 years of power.

  • George - 2011-12-12 12:18

    C O D only

  • boatmedic - 2011-12-12 22:28

    So what about MOERSE parties that have enough money?

  • June - 2012-01-23 13:24

    well we did supply a service or thought we did to all the state hospitals but thier Server,s kept on getting stolen and no backups were done and they never paid for what we did do anyway - it really is so sad that pride and ethics is so little thought of - what are we going to do.

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