Two food service aid officials working at Letaba Hospital in Limpopo have been arrested and charged with theft after they were found in possession of packs of groceries meant for patients.
The Limpopo health department announced that the two officials were arrested on Monday morning while leaving the hospital after knocking off from the night shift.
Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba said the grocery was found by the security members when they searched the officials’ car at the gate.
“The security found six packs of groceries stashed in the boot and police were immediately called. This is very disappointing, especially because our department is already operating from a shoestring budget as it is.
We cannot afford to have leakages or resources caused by unethical and ill-disciplined personnel.
Early this year, Ramathuba said the 2021/22 overall budget for the health department had decreased by 0.8% from the 2020/21 main appropriation and by 3% from the adjusted appropriation.
She explained the main appropriation referred to the original budget at the beginning of the financial year, whereas the adjusted appropriation referred to a budget that had either been increased or decreased after six months in the financial year. This normally occurs between October and November each year.
Ramathuba added it was critical to note that the equitable share allocation included an amount of R1.9 billion earmarked for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In monetary terms, the total budget indicates a decline from R22.6 billion in 2020/21 to R22.0 billion in 2021/22 from adjusted allocation. The total allocation declines by an average of 0.4% over the medium-term expenditure framework. This demonstrates that the department is currently experiencing financial strain and will do so for the foreseeable future.”