Millions intended to be spent on the health needs of Eastern Cape residents have gone missing from d.
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Neliswa Nkonyeni yesterday gave her department's financial administration a clean bill of health.
Responding to the province's treasury on her department's R2,73billion accumulative over-expenditure, Nkonyeni said every aspect of the overspending was related to the need for "quality health care".
"There is no crisis. The department is projecting an overexpenditure of R1,698billion for this 2008-09 financial year. Last year's overspend was R1,0341billion," she said.
She said there were legitimate reasons for the overspend. The largest chunk of the money had gone to the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) - allocated to pay staff with specialised skills.
"This national policy directive has put more pressure on the already struggling financial system of the government."
The province also had to spend on unforeseen challenges of chronic diseases and rising unemployment.
"Our province is among the few that were visited by difficult strains of tuberculosis known as Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) and Extreme Drug Resistant (XDR). The XDR put a huge burden on the fiscus and on expenditure of the department," she said.
She said the province was not the only one which had overspent. "In fact all nine provinces face a similar burden on the health department budget."
A rescue plan has been adopted by the department, in association with the provincial treasury .
"We have been informed by the provincial treasury of a proposed allocation of R740,159million."
This allocation, still subject to the approval of the provincial legislature, will cover expenditure in several areas including HIV-Aids grants, child health and additional OSD funding.
The department will also take decisive steps to curb its internal spending, including a better focus on expenditure, retrenchment packages and detailed verification of actual staff employed.