Reduction in over-expenditure lauded

THE Inkatha Freedom Party has applauded KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo and the joint task team comprising his department and the provincial treasury for reducing over- expenditure.

The department of health has achieved a R626million reduction in over-expenditure since September 2008. But with R2312billion the department still accounts for the bulk of the province's overspending.

IFP provincial legislature member Roman Liptak, who serves on the finance and health portfolio committees, said: "The initial efforts aimed at cutting and consolidating the multibillion-rand health budget deficit, which ballooned under Dhlomo's predecessor Peggy Nkonyeni, yielded no savings."

Liptak said the IFP did not accept the argument that public healthcare in the province was under-funded.

"As long as hundreds of millions of rands in conditional grants go unspent, and as long as internal inefficiencies in the health department's administration persist, we cannot blame over-expenditure squarely on under-funding."

He said the IFP continued to condemn the perennial underspending in conditional grants from the national Treasury due to administrative shortcomings in the provincial department.

"The ongoing gross underspending in hospital revitalisation and HIV and Aids grants in particular cannot be justified given the sorry state of public healthcare facilities."