The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) received a qualified audit for 2016-17 after its auditors, SizweNtsalubaGobodo, highlighted irregular expenditure of more than R1bn and cast doubt on its ability to continue as a going concern because it reported a R1.879bn deficit for the year. The deficit represents a significant swing into the red, as the NHLS reported a surplus of R273m the year before. The NHLS provides all the tests used for diagnosing and monitoring diseases among state patients and is thus considered the backbone of the health service. It also provides tests to the private sector including some highly specialised tests that private providers do not offer. The irregular expenditure highlighted by the auditors included R574.9m paid for expired contracts, R209.6m paid for contracts that exceeded the delegation of authority and R195m paid to suppliers without contracts in place. NHLS board chairman Eric Buch said the board was extremely concerned about these issues. ...

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