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Health infrastructure budget depleted

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The Department of Health’s Infrastructure budget for this financial year is exhausted. Not even six months into the new financial year, it has emerged that the department has already spent 98% of its infrastructure budget.
Macks Lesufi, Spokesperson for the department said: “The budget was and is not sufficient since the loss of the capital equitable share allocation in January 2012 as a result of overall budget constraints. Subsequent to that, the department solely depends on the National Health Facility Revitalisation Grant for infrastructure capital. However, the province’s allocation has been decreasing over the last three years, with a drastic decrease to R194 million during the 2015/16 financial year, with R91 million for maintenance.”
Lesufi maintained that the department did not budget too little, but that the demand for infrastructure, both new and upgrades, renovations, replacement, repairs, service and maintenance is undisputed. “During 2014/15, the department, through the support of the national Department of Health conducted an electro-mechanical condition assessment in all the hospitals. The condition assessment report indicated the overall recommended estimated budget to address the situation was R196 million for repairs and R839 for equipment replacement.
“In total, for 2014/15 alone, a budget of R322 million was needed against an available allocation of R145 million. The 2014/15 recommended estimated budget indicated an annual maintenance budget of R91 million and an equipment replacement budget of
R231 million.”
Lesufi said the 2015/16 infrastructure budget had been used for capital projects on site, capital projects in planning and design, projects in retention to final account, maintenance, water and sanitation and furniture, equipment and fittings. “Funds were mainly used for the outcomes of the electro-mechanical condition assessment and related civil works encompassing addressing issues of occupational health and safety. These were activities and or projects that were not attended to since December 2011 due to budget constraints, which in turn manifested into some emergency works,” he said.
Lesufi said the department will ask for more money in the new financial year and also in October this year during budget adjustments.

Story: NELIE ERASMUS
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