The Gauteng Health and Wellness Department owes R421 million to local councils for electricity, with R387.5 million owing to Johannesburg alone.
This information is disclosed by Gauteng Health and Wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to the Department, the late payments are due to the late submission of invoices/bills, and disputes over incorrect billing.
Most of the debt (R429.5 million) is for less than 90 days, but R1 655 000 is owing for 3 to 12 months, and R243 000 is owing for more than a year.
Amounts owing include the following:
City of Tshwane – R14.5 million
Eskom – R10.2 million
Mogale City – R5.4 million
Ekurhuleni – R2.4 million
Lesedi – R744 000
Merafong City – R355 000
Rand West City – R326 000
Health services have suffered because Mogale City suspended electricity at the Districts due to non-payment and billing disputes.
Tshwane also cut off services because of non-payment, but the Department says this was not true as they had not allocated the funds they received.
Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital owes a whopping R329.6 million, followed by Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital which owes R19.3 million, while Rahima Moosa Hospital owes R15.4 million and Helen Joseph Hospital owes R10.6 million.
In Tshwane, the Steve Biko Hospital owes R4 million, Jubilee Hospital owes R2.6 million and Tshwane District Health owes R2.5 million
Eskom is owed R4.8 million by the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital, R1.2 million by Jubilee Hospital and R512 000 by Tshwane District Health.
In Mogale City, Leratong Hospital owes R2.6 million and Sterkfontein Hospital owes R1.7 million.
The Department says there have been discussions with municipalities and Eskom to submit their correct bills on time, and there are weekly meetings with Eskom and follow-ups with some municipalities as a collective.
It is unacceptable that the Gauteng Health Department owes so much to Eskom and municipalities, and has not sorted out its electricity bills. This hurts residents as local governments run out of budget for services.
This Department is notorious for not paying bills within the legally required 30 days.
Premier Panyaza Lesufi should ensure his provincial government pays all municipal accounts promptly, and settles payment disputes without delay.
By Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC