'Unwarranted interests' delaying payment of electricity bills - Gauteng Health

'Unwarranted interests' delaying payment of electricity bills - Gauteng Health

The Department of Health in Gauteng has hit back at City Power amid threats by the utility to disconnect electricity at various hospitals due to outstanding debts.

Electricity bill

City Power said it is owed R41 million by various health institutions, including Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, Helen Joseph Hospital, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, and Baragwanath Hospital.

But Gauteng Health spokesperson Motalatale Modiba says the amount owed to City Power has already been paid from April 2023 to November 2023.

However, it continues to incur interest.

"The department would like to state upfront that we acknowledge the importance of settling financial obligations promptly to ensure the uninterrupted provision of services by municipalities which have a direct impact on the rendering of healthcare services to the public, especially given that our facilities depend on access to a sustainable supply of electricity and water for their operations," said Modiba

"However, the Gauteng Department of Health has an obligation like any consumer of municipal services to ensure that when there are discrepancies in the billing owing to one reason to another, these get verified before any payment can be processed."

Modiba explained for Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, six invoices amounting to a total of R32,474,056.39 have been paid to the city from April to September 2023 towards the settlement of the R40m debt.

"An additional invoice of R4.9m has been finalised for payment this week, and the last invoice of R5.2m is currently being processed for a purchase order to be created before the money is released.

"These amounts excluded interest raised as the department is of the view that the interest has been raised even on invoices that have long been settled leading to incorrect amounts being claimed, said Modiba.

He said the same was done for Helen Joseph Hospital, where all invoices received totalling a principal debt of R13m have been paid fully.

"It would appear that the amounts received by the City of Johannesburg were not yet allocated to relevant invoices and accounts on time; so, they can also reflect on City Power’s records which highlights some of the challenges that lead to the incorrect reflection of actual amounts owed to the City of Johannesburg, and discrepancies between the parties," he said.

For Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, Modiba said the R4m debt was paid in three invoices.

He said the department had to dispute a R2 million invoice for South Rand Hospital, which was way above the normal charges.

Modiba said the R2.6m owed to the city for Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital is current.

For Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) – City Power incorrectly attributed a debt of R47m in its announcement to NMCH instead of Transvaal Memorial Institute, which used to house the erstwhile Children Memorial Hospital.

"The Institute houses a number of NGOs that are not related to GDoH except for the laundry services and a boiler house which are in the same yard as the TMI, but in a different building.0"

Modiba asked City Power to resolve the issues at hand.

"The department remains committed to cooperating with local authorities across the province and utilities to ensure sustained delivery of services and will continue to engage affected stakeholders and exchange records in an effort to ensure that no debt goes unsettled."


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