Non-payment threatens hospital security
THE security situation at several Gauteng hospitals remains precarious, with several service providers threatening to down tools unless the provincial government pays them.
Yesterday an official from one of the companies providing security at several Gauteng public hospital painted a bleak picture of how their resources were stretched to the limit because the Gauteng department of health was failing to pay them.
Recently the national Treasury announced that it would intervene by helping the department to manage its financial resources effectively.
Late last month Gauteng MEC for finance Mandla Nkomfe announced his department "will identify possible under-spending which should be surrendered to the Provincial Revenue Fund for reallocation to health to address accruals".
Ka-Lethabo Trading security operations manager Victor Walters said: "It is a crisis. Since August we have not received payment but at the same time we have had to keep up with paying staff."
The company employs 165 security guards at George Mukhari Hospital, 50 at Mamelodi Hospital and 45 at Far East Rand Hospital.
Security officers at four hospitals have just called off a strike on the understanding that their employers will soon receive money from the Gauteng department of health to pay them.
"Last Friday guards at George Mukhari Hospital (in GaRankuwa) went on a go-slow, allowing anybody to enter or exit without any form of control," Jack Bloom, DA member of the provincial legislature, said.
"At Bertha Gxowa Hospital, security officers have been on strike for more than a week. The gates are open and people enter and leave as they please."
Security guards at Germiston Hospital confirmed that they were on strike last week and have returned to work with the understanding that they will receive their wages soon.
Last week electricity was also cut-off at Sedilega Clinic in Mabopane, northern Pretoria, because of arrears.
Health Department spokesman Simon Zwane said: "The department is committed to paying service providers and payments are improving."