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Troubled NW Health Dept presents R11 billion budget

MEC Magome Masike confirmed the department has been allocated over R11 billion, adding that the money would be used ‘for what it is meant for’.

FILE: The North West Department of Health head office in Mahikeng. Picture: Masechaba Sefularo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The North West Department of Health has on Thursday presented its 2018/2019 budget to the provincial legislature despite ongoing problems with service delivery that led to Cabinet invoking section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution which allows for national government to take over from the province to ensure stability and service delivery.

Health MEC Magome Masike confirmed the department has been allocated over R11 billion, adding that the money would be used ‘for what it is meant for’.

The MEC acknowledged in his speech, the dire effects of the labour unrest that continues to plague the province’s facilities – with the latest reports of intimidation and disruption of services coming from Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp.

Masike says at least six clinics around Mahikeng remain closed, while patients had to be evacuated from the Taung, Lehurutshe and Zeerust hospitals causing overcrowding at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital that is currently run by the South African Military Health Services.

The department’s head office in Mahikeng is also inaccessible, as protesting workers bar anyone from entering the building.

Before the strike at the Mmabatho Medical Depot, Masike says availability of medicines at facilities was at 86%. He says his department will ensure direct delivery to hospitals to further improve on this.

At the moment, the South African National Defence Force has intervened at the medical depot, ensuring the delivery of medicines to facilities across the province.

The MEC commended Minister Aaron Motsoaledi for his ‘eagerness’ in trying to find solutions in the province, the Portfolio Committee on Health for holding the department accountable and Premier Supra Mahumapelo for appointing a task team to look into allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration in the departments of health and social development.