Avatar photo

By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

R40m hospital bill: Gauteng health challenges City Power interest and ‘errors’

The health department has 'set the record straight' on its City Power debts.

The Gauteng department of health has “set the record straight” on what it claims are discrepancies in the City Power billing system for the province’s hospitals.

Last month, City Power said the Helen Joseph Hospital and Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital collectively owed more than R30 million.

The power utility paid a visit to the hospitals during a revenue collection drive to hand over disconnection notices.

The hospitals were given 14 days to settle the outstanding balance.

The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital owed City Power about R40 million and was given until Thursday to settle the bill or be disconnected.

ALSO READ: Gauteng Health refutes City Power’s over R30 million hospitals electricity debt claim

“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 sustainable supply of electricity and water for their operations,” said health department spokesperson Motalatale Modiba.

Gauteng hospitals’ City Power debts

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital

Modiba said the department settled six invoices of R32.474,056.39 with the City of Joburg from April to September 2023 towards the settlement of the R40 million debt.

An additional invoice of R4.9 million 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.

ALSO READ: Gauteng hospitals given 14 days to settle over R30 million electricity debt

“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.

Helen Joseph Hospital

All invoices received totalling a principal debt of R13 million have been paid fully and received by the City of Joburg between 07 August and 23 November 2023.

ALSO READ: Gauteng Health confirms water supply stable at three hospitals

“It would appear that the amounts received by the City of Joburg 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 Joburg, and discrepancies between the parties,” said Modiba.

Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital

The R4m debt was paid in three invoices dated 19 and 26 October 2023, which has been received by City of Joburg.

“Similarly, these payments have not been updated on City Power’s record, causing a misleading representation of the situation,” said Modiba.

South Rand Hospital

The department said it was still seeking clarity on an invoice of R2.086,080.30 from the City of Johannesburg.

The invoice “was way above the normal charges that would be received, this delayed the processing thereof pending clarity”.

“This amount is now due to be processed and paid with the current pay run. There is an amount of R625 807.84, which is being processed for the creation of a purchase order to effect payment.”

Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital

The debt of R2.6 million owed to the City of Joburg is current and an invoice was received in November 2023, which is currently being processed for the creation of a purchase order to effect payment.

Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH)

City Power incorrectly attributed a debt of R47 million in its announcement to NMCH instead of Transvaal Memorial Institute (TMI) which used to house the erstwhile children memorial hospital (TMI), said Modiba.

City Power apologised for the error on Wednesday.

“Oopsie! We made an error by including Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital as one of the health institutions that owe City Power,” said City Power.

“In actual fact, it is Johannesburg Children’s Hospital, also referred to as The Children’s Memorial Institute nearby, which owes City Power close R47 million. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital is up to date with their account with the City, and we thank them for that. We extend our apologies to the CEO, Dr Nkuli and team for the error.”

The department claims the amounts it has already paid to the City of Joburg from April to November continue to incur interests. It is disputing the amounts.

“It is important that this issue is resolved to ensure continued collaboration in an effort to maintain the delivery of services to the people of Gauteng.”

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits