Most of South Africa’s provincial health departments irregular expenditure has shot up, with little or no attempt to rectify matters through the cancellation of contracts identified by the as being out of line, writes MedicalBrief. It amounts to at least R23bn over the past five years.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize provided the information, prior to his leave of absence, in response to a written parliamentary question from Democratic Alliance MP Siviwe Gwarube.
Gauteng Health: Only two tenders were cancelled due to corruption or irregular expenditure over the past five years. The department incurred more than R12bn in irregular expenditure during this time. It recorded six cases of corruption worth R12.6m (R12 600 944.78) in the 2019-20 financial year. In 2017-18, corruption cases worth R2.8m (R2 875 716.49) were recorded.
Eastern Cape Health: No tenders cancelled because of irregularities or corruption. The province is, however, currently using manual systems which are paper-based. “The plans to digitise procurement processes have been included on the departmental strategic plan, and processes are under way to engage the [State Information Technology Agency] for assistance,” Mkhize said.
North West Health: Irregular expenditure over the past five years was R4.7bn (R4 728 202 000).
Free State Health: No tenders cancelled due to irregularities or corruption. An amount of R1.6bn (R1 605 678 521.22) in irregular expenditure. As regards corruption, the Free State Psychiatric Complex made double payment to various suppliers on the same order numbers. The cost involved R7.8m (R7 821 587.62).
KwaZulu-Natal Health: No tenders cancelled in the province in the past five years due to irregularities and/or corruption. Corruption in the 2016-17 financial year was R 16 918 744. In 2017-18, the costs decreased to R 8 505 932.68 and then increased to R118 169 545.62 in 2018-19. In the 2019-20 financial year, the cost of corruption was R474 767.75.
Limpopo Health: No irregular expenditure was recorded because of corruption.
Mpumalanga Health: No known cases of corruption but the department cancelled contracts with an appointed service provider for the supply of perishable and non-perishable food due to non-compliance with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). Irregular expenditure recorded was, however, high despite it dropping considerably over the past few years.
In 2016-17, the department recorded R1.5bn in irregular expenditure while the following year (2017-18) it dropped to R309 920 000. In 2018-19, the irregular expenditure figure stood at R138 899 000 and in 2019-20 at R122 157 000.
Northern Cape Health: No corruption costs identified in previous five financial years, nor any contracts cancelled to to irregularities or corruption. The collective irregular expenditure for the past five years stood at R2.6bn.
Western Cape Health: No record of corruption or contract cancellations due to irregularities. The province also recorded the lowest irregular expenditure.
However, in the most recent provincial audit report, while Western Cape Health received a clean audit from the Auditor-General (AG) it had identified 548 cases of irregular expenditure amounting to R38.3 million to the provincial treasury for the 2019/20 financial year.
According to the annual report, “On July 20, the provincial treasury requested additional information in respect to 124 cases of irregular expenditure worth R4.7 million. The outcome of the remaining R33.6 million (424 cases) is still pending.”
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