Unqualified audit for health department

The GPL’s Health Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Nompi Nhlapo

The GPL’s Health Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Nompi Nhlapo

During the past financial year, the Gauteng department of health has received an unqualified audit opinion. This follows a marked improvement in financial management and control as compared to the past two financial years, as evidenced.

The public was invited to the Annual Report presentation of the Health Portfolio Committee, led by Nompi Nhlapo, at the Chris Hani Sports Complex in Orange Farm on Friday, October 28.

In the past financial year, the Department spent R34 864 555 000 (98.7%) from a total budget of R35 337 087 000, according to the Department’s Annual Report Analysis.

However, the report shows that there has been under-spending on the following programmes: District Health Services, R11 075 547 000 (98.3%); Emergency Medical Services, R940 319 000 (94.1%); Health Care Support Services, R223 499 000 (86%); and Health Facilities Management, R1 864 651 000 (95.2%).

The role of the Department is among others to improve the health and wellbeing of all citizens with an emphasis on mother and child health and reducing neonatal mortality, which is still more than the baseline data of 12.7 per 1 000 live births.

The Department is also playing an important role reducing the rate of new infections and burden of HIV and TB.

While the Department has achieved a marked improvement in its finances, the auditor-general (AG) indicates that the accounting officer of the Department has not exercised adequate oversight responsibility to ensure complete and accurate performance reporting.

The AG further stated that there were insufficient controls in place to prepare accurate and complete performance reports from the senior management. The AG emphasised that to improve financial and performance management, monitoring controls are imperative to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations for procurement; contract management; expenditure management; and revenue management.

The AG is reporting investigations based on allegations of procurement irregularities, fraud, theft and negligence by the Department, and the report will be available as soon as the process is finalised.

Regarding performance on strategic goals, the Department has demonstrated progress towards achieving its five year-targets namely, the improved health and wellbeing of citizens; reduced rate of new infections and burden of HIV and TB; increased equal and timely access to efficient and quality health care services; and excellence in non-clinical functions such as obtaining an unqualified audit report.

Even though the Department has not achieved all targets regarding school health, it is noted that 69 school health teams have visited 691 schools to provide integrated school health services. During these visits, the school health teams screened 178 282 learners and 35 587 were referred to health facilities.

The total number of personnel employed by the Department is 65 713. The percentage of women employed in senior positions is 44.4% in the year under review, which is almost the same as the 44% of the previous year. The rate of people with disabilities employed by the department is 0.29%, a severe drop as compared to 0.72% of the previous year, which is not in compliance with the Employment Equity Act.

Charles Molele

Charles Molele

Charles Molele is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. Charles joined the paper in 2011. He has covered general news, court and politics for the past 19 years, and also worked as a senior reporter for the Saturday Star, Sunday World, ThisDay, Sunday Times and is former politics editor of the New Age. Charles's other career highlights include covering Kenya's violent general elections (2007/08), Zimbabwe’s sham general elections (2008), Mozambique's food riots (2010) and the historic re-election of US President Barack Obama (2012). Read more from Charles Molele