The DA has made another revelation of gross wasteful spending by government  departments.

The party said R7.7 billion irregular expenditure has been revealed in SA health sector for the year.

The Party’s shadow deputy minister for health, Heinrich Volmink reported this  saying Auditor-General during a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Health on Wednesday, discovered that billions were grossly spent by the department.

According to Volmink, it was reported that irregular expenditure accounted for a massive R7.7 billion in SA health sector in the 2015/2016 financial year which included health expenditure in the public sector across all provinces.

“Irregular expenditure is defined as “expenditure incurred in contravention of key legislation; prescribed processes not followed,” he explained,

“The amount further represents an alarming increase of approximately R1.7 billion from the final 2014/2015 A-G findings on irregular expenditure (R6 billion)”

H noted that the R7.7 billion as the irregular expenditure for year could be used by the government  to :

  • Build 308 rural health clinics – 34 extra rural clinics in each province;
  • Or Employ 39 453 extra nurses;
  • Or Fund and end the crisis playing out in various SA education by paying 32 083 university bursaries for a three-year degree, including full cost of study, tuition and accommodation.

The party reported that the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department (at R2.5 billion) stand as the country’s biggest contributor provincially. This is followed by Mpumalanga (R1.9 billion) and the Northern Cape (R1 billion).

The Free State Health Department also experienced gross irregular expenditure of R828 million, indicating that the recent shuffling of MEC Dr. Benny Malakoane out of the Health Portfolio in the province may have been too little, too late, the party said.

“The DA-governed Western Cape’s contribution to this is a miniscule 0.01% of total amount (at R7.3 million). It was also the only province to fully comply with legislation.

“Access to health services is a right enshrined in the Constitution, but this level of gross irregular expenditure can block such access for thousands and thousands of South Africans. It also creates ripe conditions for the festering of fraud and corruption in the sector,” Volmink stated.

Volmink, therefore, noted that he would  be using his privileges as a Member of Parliament to submit written questions to the Minister aimed at ascertaining:

What, if any, investigations into the irregular expenditure have been undertaken?

What were the details of such investigations (and, specifically, if there any instances of fraud or corruption have been uncovered)?

“If there have been any consequences for those responsible for the unacceptable outcome, and if not, why not?

“Every cent of public money must be accounted for, especially in a sector as crucial as SA health sector. The DA will endeavor to keep the public fully informed if, and when, responses are received on this critical issue.” DA’s Volmink said.