Corruption Watch Releases Report of Corruption in the SA Health Sector

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Civil society organisation, Corruption Watch released a report titled X-Ray: The critical state of the health sector in SA highlighting the effects of corruption on the South African health sector.

Corruption Watch researcher and report author Melusi Ncala says, “Our major headache as a country is to apportion scarce resources to an ailing public health sector that is inherited from apartheid South Africa,”

The report was compiled from whistle-blower accounts from 2012 to 2019. Over the stipulated period Corruption Watch says it received 670 whistle-blower accounts related to the health sector. Fifty-two per cent of the allegations were against provincial governments and was distributed in this way:

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Corruption Watch says that financing in the health sector allows for different forms of corruption. These include the embezzling of funds from national authorities to regional departments, accessing medical supplies and pharmaceuticals as well as simulated equipment and drugs, and nepotism and favouritism in employing staff.

The report says that most acts of corruption are done by officials in high ranks, medical professionals and administrative staff as well as corporate entities working closely with the government.

The types of corruption was distributed across these categories:

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Regarding employment corruption, the organisation found that it is the very people who set out the expectations for new employees and have a role in appointing them that cause the issues. Many of the reports found that autocratic decisions were made when various parties had to be consulted first, staff members are forced to choose the least appropriate candidates when consultations take place, officials are often bribed and that there is a lack of accountability once a decision has been made.

This is a large contributor to the lack of service delivery as people are employed in positions when they do not meet the minimum requirements and duties are often not taken seriously.

These were the provincial reports of employment corruption:

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The most reported issues of procurement corruption includes the increase of prices without substantiation, documents that are altered to get rid of competition, favouritism and nepotism, and officials who get financial gains from corporate entities that win tenders.

These are the provincial reports of procurement corruption:

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On the misappropriation of resources, Corruption Watch found that often funding for projects from the Treasury is used for other areas, doctors use state equipment and medication for their personal practices and officials make use of vehicles, fuel and accommodation outside of stipulated agreements for personal use and the use of peers and relatives. This has caused a deficit in the supply of medication, faulty equipment or disappearance of equipment and the state funding the extravagant lifestyles of officials.

This is the provincial breakdown of misappropriation of resources:

Source: Facebook @CorruptionWatch

Ncala concludes the report saying that the reports of corruption should be of high concern and that if no action is taken against it, the lives of people who depend on these facilities will be compromised.