Media Statement on the state of affairs in the Department of Health

Monday, 04 July 2014

Thank you members of the media for coming to this press conference at short notice.

This briefing seeks to outline the intervention processes that will be implemented following the decision of the Executive Council Lekgotla to place the Department of Health under curatorship.

The decision of Lekgotla was informed by the worrying state of governance in the department, which is nearing total collapse.

In the State of the Province Address, Hon Premier David Mabuza outlined measures that must be implemented to address the critical challenges that were identified during the visits to various hospitals in the Province. The Human Rights Commission and the Minister of Health also presented reports, which corroborated the challenges identified by the Premier.

The Provincial Government intervened in the Department in October last year. Since then various forms of assistance were provided to the department, however the situation deteriorated, hence the decision to place the department under curatorship with immediate effect.

The Executive Council realized that, despite the assistance provided, internal controls remained totally ineffective, infrastructure not maintained, there are still challenges with the provision of food and waste management, and poor management of laundry services. This resulted in the department accumulating accruals, which it failed to manage.

The Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) obliges the Provincial Government to manage the resources effectively. The Act also empowers the Provincial Treasury to institute measures to protect the integrity of the provincial budget.

In line with the Section 17 (2) of the PFMA, the MEC for Finance as the Head of Provincial Treasury can take the policy and other decisions of treasury. Furthermore, section 18 (2) (g) instructs the Provincial Treasury to take appropriate steps to address a serious or persistent breach of the Act.

The MEC for Finance has, in terms of this legislation, assumed the role of curator in the Department of Health. This mean the financial delegations of the Department of Health are now with the curator, and only the human resource delegations will remain with the Health MEC. The Executive Council has approved the terms of reference for the curator to be implemented immediately. The work of the curator is divided into six work streams which are as follows:

To improve financial management and assist in the stabilisation of the finances of the Department

To improve direct services to patients through the improvement of operational management of facilities

To establish a compliant and effective Supply Chain Management System

To align human resources with the strategic direction of the department

To ensure a workable, achievable and sustainable department

To improve facilities to ensure the delivery of core standards of service delivery

Team leaders have been appointed for each of the above key areas to manage and address the issues that need attention in the department.

While the Provincial Government will be remedying the state of affairs in the Department of Health, a process of investigation will concurrently be undertaken and those who are found to have contributed in the maladministration in the department will be held accountable.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen.