The National Health Pathology Service claims the KZN Health
department owes it R3 billion while Gauteng’s account is R900 million in
arrears, reported the Times.
Kwazulu Natal have not made a payment in three years despite
the lab’s services being essential in combating HIV and TB, two of the
provinces leading causes of death. The lab also deals with a large volume of
cancer-related tests which are essential in diagnosing the illness and
informing treatment options.
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The scale of the problem has forced the NHLS to give the
provinces a two-week ultimatum. If the accounts are not at least partially
settled in that time the lab will withdraw their services until the payment has
These cash-flow problems have affected the NHLS’ ability to
repay their own suppliers, and they currently owe one such entity over R100
million. Were this supplier to cease its relationship with the lab, the labs
capabilities would be severely compromised.
For its part, the Gauteng department of health has made
moves to redress the problem ahead of the deadline. The department paid R77 million
last week and plans to have paid up to R200 million by tomorrow.
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The organisation is also responsible for the National Cancer
Registry and the production of snake, spider and scorpion anti-venom, reports IOL.
The Kwazulu Natal Health department argue that the reason
for non-payment is a dispute over the amount owed. It is unclear whether the
department has any plans to pay the NHLS before the two-week deadline expires.
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Sources: TimesLive, IOL, StatsSA