Health departments on road to recovery

11 September 2012 - 02:14 By KATHARINE CHILD
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. File photo.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. File photo.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has denied reports that provincial health departments failed to spend their budgets on much-needed infrastructure, saying the under-spending was 18 months ago.

Motsoaledi's spokesman, Joe Maila, said that if all the projects to revitalise and upgrade hospitals across the country went ahead, the health department might overspend on infrastructure by as much as R1-billion.

In a reply to a parliamentary question by the DA's Patricia Kopane, Motsoaledi said on Thursday that provincial health departments had underspent by R800-million of the R4-billion allocated for the 2010-2011 financial year.

But Motsoaledi said this was not the case currently.

"It is true that, 18 months ago, during the 2010-2011 financial year, the said departments underspent, Eastern Cape by 53%, the Free State 35%, KwaZulu-Natal 46%, Limpopo 28% and Northern Cape 38%."

But this has been rectified, said Motsoaledi.

Maila said: "We are likely to overspend by more than R1-billion."

He said that, in the most recent financial year, KwaZulu-Natal had overspent by 12% after underspending by 38%.

Other improvements in 2011-2012 included:

  • Eastern Cape cut under-expenditure from 53% to 12%;
  • The Free State reduced under-expenditure from 35% to 9%;
  • Northern Cape reduced under-expenditure from 38% to 2%; and
  • Limpopo reduced its under-expenditure from 28% to 23%.

"We thought the important thing was to clarify how provinces are performing now and not . how they failed 18 months ago," said Maila.

He said Eastern Cape was not short of money for the hospital revitalisation grant.