Underspending flayed

THE IFP has expressed concern about the under spending in KwaZulu-Natal hospitals under the national hospital revitalisation programme.

THE IFP has expressed concern about the under spending in KwaZulu-Natal hospitals under the national hospital revitalisation programme.

The party's finance spokesperson, Roman Liptak, said the underspent money currently amounts to R2,312billion.

He said the hospital revitalisation programme was officially the worst spending conditional grant across the entire government, with the total projected under-expenditure at the end of March standing at more than R813million.

Of this amount KwaZulu-Natal's underspend was R225million.

Liptak said the programme was part of some R13billion given to South Africa's hospitals through various budget allocations. The money was for construction, maintenance and equipment but was not spent as a result of poor cash and supply chain management coupled with a lack of proper planning.

"This is clearly unacceptable, given the sorry state of public healthcare infrastructure in the country," he said.

Liptak said the IFP had noted that the conditional grants were paid back to the national treasury and therefore forfeited.

"This compounds the challenges the country's public hospitals face," Liptak said.

"The disproportionate growth in overspending figures for December 2009 (R535million) and March 2010 (R813million) suggest that this trend appears to be worsening," he said.

Liptak said another item of underspending on conditional grants includes the comprehensive HIV and Aids grant at R86million.

"By contrast, the province has overspent the forensic pathology services grant by R143million, something that, in theory, cannot happen with a ring-fenced schedule 5 grant.

"We see the persistent underspending on conditional grants by KwaZulu-Natal as counterproductive to service delivery as well as the infrastructure backlog," he concluded.

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