The Gauteng Health Department owes R1.7 billion to 987 companies for more than a year, of which 46 companies have not been paid since 2014.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
The figures are as follows:
|Financial year||Number of suppliers owed||Amount owed|
|2014/15||46||R5 764 838|
|2015/16||58||R6 807 844|
|2016/17||128||R103 695 894|
|2017/18||236||R1 333 998 659|
|2018/19||519||R268 575 029|
|Total||987||R1 718 842 264|
I am astonished and dismayed that 46 companies have not received R5.7 million owing to them for five years, and 128 companies are owed R104 million for four years.
An enormous amount of R1.3 billion is owed to 236 companies for three years.
According to Masuku: “At the beginning of ﬁnancial year 2018/2019 and ﬁnancial year 2019/20 Gauteng Department of Health undertook a process of ensuring that suppliers who were owed less than R10 million as at 31 March 2018 were paid in full … The Department is on the drive to clean up accruals and eliminate accruals going forward. The focus has been given to the oldest invoices and the accruals strategy has assisted with reducing the accruals from prior ﬁnancial years in terms of number of service providers owed. In 2018/19 mainly the service providers owed is due to disputes and exceptions.”
Payments do not seem to be improving, however, as 828 companies are currently owed R1.8 billion for more than 90 days instead of being paid within the legally required 30-day period.
Slow payment by government is devastating to companies. The Gauteng Health Department is the worst of all the provincial departments and needs to take firm measures to be up to date with all payments.