Call for help for E Cape in R1,8bn red

A PUBLIC service watchdog has called for national government intervention in the Eastern Cape health department, which revealed this week it was R1,8billion in the red.

A PUBLIC service watchdog has called for national government intervention in the Eastern Cape health department, which revealed this week it was R1,8billion in the red.

The Public Service Accountability Monitor said yesterday it was "dismayed, but not surprised" at the news.

It said it was, however, concerned at the effect this financial bungling might have on critical aspects such as the crumbling emergency medical services and security at medical facilities.

Smaller contractors, dependent on cash flow, were likely to be most affected by the department's financial failure.

The PSAM had already received complaints that one security contractor had not been paid and was withdrawing its services.

It said it called on national government two years ago to intervene in terms of section 100 of the Constitution to ensure that the department delivered adequate services. It had, however, received no response.

The department said this week that because of the cash crunch it had suspended all outstanding occupation-specific dispensation payments until the start of the new financial year in April.

It had also put on hold all payments to creditors, and was planning a major overhaul of its tendering system.- Sapa

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