Pretoria - The Gauteng Department of Health has acknowledged the outstanding amount owed to provincial hospital suppliers and is in the process of paying them.
"The department is aware of the outstanding amounts owed to service providers, there is a process underway to settle these debts speedily," department spokesperson Mandla Sidu said.
A total of R546 million is still owed to suppliers at 15 hospitals around Gauteng, including Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital which is owed R92 million, Chris Hani Baragwanath which is owed R77 million and Dr George Mukhari which is owed R59 million.
During the provincial Budget Vote, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane launched Operation Bhadala to ensure that all monies owed to suppliers for services rendered during the 2008/9 financial year are paid by the end of September 2009.
By September, the operation had yielded positive results with R927 million being paid to suppliers owed money by the Gauteng Provincial Government.
The invoices included those of the current financial year up to 30 June 2009.
Responding to the criticism that Operation Bhadala was misguided, Gauteng Shared Service Centre Manager: Strategy and Media Liaison, Sithembiso Ndlovu said operation Bhadala had been successful.
"As far as we are concerned we have processed all invoices as per the baseline provided to the task team that administered the operation," Ndlovu said.
He stressed that one of the recommendations of the Operation Bhadala is that there was a need to focus on specific departments to ensure that they deal with manual orders and sundry payments.
"This work has already started under the leadership of the Provincial Treasury."