The North West health department’s turnaround team has put all new infrastructure spending projects on hold as its seeks to stabilise its finances, parliament heard on Wednesday. The department was placed under national administration by the cabinet in terms of section 100(b) of the constitution in April, following a protracted strike and violent protests aimed at removing premier Supra Mahumapelo, which closed clinics and hospitals and led to an extensive shortage of medicine. The department’s administrator Jeanette Hunter and her team painted a picture of a poorly managed department that had run out of cash by September last year, mid-way through the 2017-2018 spending cycle. It began the 2018-2019 fiscal year on April 1 owing suppliers close to R1bn: its total budget is R11bn. Inadequately managed infrastructure projects are the key contributor to the accruals, said the department’s Johan de Klerk. The department has overspent on some projects, while others have been completed so...

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