South Africa Government

08/12/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/12/2020 23:40

North West Health on Mmabatho medical depot unpaid invoices

Raid at Mmabatho medical depot uncovers unpaid invoices worth millions

A team from the North West Department of Health led by Administrator Jeanette Hunter on Wednesday, 12 August 2020 raided offices at the Mmabatho Medical Depot. The raid uncovered unpaid invoices of 50 companies worth millions. Some of the unpaid invoices date back to 2014.

When the Administration team arrived in the Department in 2018 the stock level of essential medicine was at 64% and it was improved to about 85% through intervention. However, the level started dropping in the beginning of the year and some companies stopped delivering medicine in March 2020 citing none payment of invoices.

The stock levels did not change despite money being made available in April 2020. The Department then got technical assistance to speed up payment of suppliers. Through that intervention it has come to the attention of the Department that a number of invoices are missing.

The Medical Depot could not pay companies as invoices were missing. As a result, companies stopped supplying medication which has affected stock level at the medical depot.

A decision was then made to raid the offices and block workers from accessing the depot. The search uncovered a number of unpaid invoices and the search continues. One unpaid invoice that was found at the medical depot in a drawer was worth more than R16 million. The Department can confirm that all the invoices will be verified before payment be processed.

MEC Madoda Sambatha said: 'We owe companies who are the suppliers of medical depot. As a result, we are unable to get enough supply of medicine from the same companies because we owe them.

'There are people who are employed to process invoices by the Provincial Government and they are not doing their job. This technically leads to unavailability of medicine in the medical depot.

'The raid now provides the management of the Department led by the Administrator to work out a plan on how to catch up with payment of suppliers. This will lead to improved availability of medicine which will then be delivered to clinics and hospitals, where they are needed the most.

'It breaks my heart to know that there are people in the Department who decide to withhold payment of medicine which should be assisting our parents, family members and communities at large. It's treasonous and the situation has to be corrected,' he said.

MEC Sambatha says he has noted with dismay that whenever a decision is made to correct situation at the medical depot an anonymous letter always surfaces. He says he will knows the identity of the author and will address it at an appropriate platform.

Four managers (2 from medical depot and 2 from provincial office) in Mahikeng have been put on precautionary suspension following alleged mismanagement involving expired medication, Depot and staff.

A plan to improve delivery timelines and turnaround is in place. It involves direct deliveries of medication to hospitals while the medical depot will now deliver directly to clinics.

Tebogo Lekgethwane

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