The Gauteng health department faces a R10.9bn funding gap as budgeted funds are all taken up by salaries, accumulated debt and payments for negligence. Earlier in May health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa conceded that the current R40.2bn budget was inadequate to cover requirements, largely due to substantial debt burden consisting of money owed to suppliers. On Monday DA shadow health minister Jack Bloom reiterated that the extent of the debt pile-up was revealed in a presentation by the department at a meeting of the Gauteng legislature health committee last Friday. Outstanding payments to suppliers dating back to previous years totalled R4.2bn. Commitments to long-term contracts took up R2.95bn, while possible payments for medical negligence amounted to R3.78bn. In 2016, the health department’s legal fees amounted to R569m, pushed up by burgeoning negligence cases since 2009. The department’s chief financial officer, George Mahlangu, on Friday described this as a "dire situation". Meanwhile,...

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