Gauteng Health cuts funding to 160 NGOs – Jack Bloom

DA says welfare of thousands of patients at risk because of withdrawal of funds, adds that this could lead to another Esidimeni disaster

Another Esidimeni? Gauteng Health cuts funding to 160 NGOs

26 June 2017

The welfare of thousands of mental health and other patients in 160 NGOs is at risk because the Gauteng Health Department has withdrawn funds since March this year after giving unreasonable notice to meet stringent new licensing requirements.

Staff at the NGOs are going unpaid, and some are battling to feed their residents. Underprivileged children, orphans and people who have been severely traumatised are all suffering.

I know of at least three NGOs who have had to send patients away.

One NGO took the department to court last week and won its case to force payment of the monthly subsidy of R3400 per patient. Other NGOs are also considering court action.

Following the report of the Health Ombudsman on deaths of former Esidimeni patients, nine additional requirements were added for licensing of NGOs. This includes. zoning or rezoning certificates which can take several months to obtain.

The department is being unreasonable in not giving sufficient time for the NGOs to meet the new requirements.

The withholding of funds to the NGOs is creating a crisis that could lead to another Esidimeni as many helpless people are dependent on these NGOs which are struggling now to assist them.

Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, 26 June 2017