The Gauteng department of health owed more than R1.2bn in late payments to 808 service providers as of the end of January due to insufficient budget allocations and an increase of patients from other provinces. The budget for the province’s public health system increased from R37.6bn in 2016-17 to R40.2bn in 2017-18. Of this, R893.8m was allocated to support mental-health patients. This follows the death of more than 100 psychiatric patients who were moved from Life Esidimeni facilities to unlicensed nongovernmental organisations and the resignation of former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu. Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa said in a reply to DA questions that 38% of companies dealing with the department had been paid within the 30-day period at January 31.

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