The virtual meeting focused on the Western Cape Department of Health’s 2019/20 annual report, which could not be previously received and engaged upon due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Western Cape Minister for Health highlighted the outstanding work done by the Department through the Head of Department and his team in ensuring that a clean audit was achieved, despite the many obstacles it had faced in tackling really complex and difficult indicators. Nevertheless, it was not relenting in its efforts to maintain high standards of service delivery and accountability to the relevant government agencies, to ensure good governance.
Members of the Committee raised concerns around sexual harassment in the workplace and efforts made by the Department to address such issues; the aging infrastructure and health technology in the Department; efforts made to minimise its reliance on sessional workers; the effectiveness of the approved anti-fraud and corruption plan; progress on the implementation of the preferential procurement policy; the provincial policy on interns, if any; the placement of interns and their payment by the national Department of Health; and the application of the local content procurement policy to the health sector.
The meeting ended with resolutions by the Committee to request detailed reports on the irregular expenditure of R38.3 million and the 548 cases reported in this regard, as well as the application of the local content policy in the Department, particularly as it related to the importation of product components and their local assembly.
The Chairperson explained the programme of the day, noting that it was normal practice for the Committee to deliberate on the annual report of the Department alongside the Auditor-General (AG)’s report. The Committee would therefore get a briefing from the AG in a closed meeting from the public, after which the Department’s annual report and the report from the Audit Committee would be taken and deliberated upon publicly.
Minister's opening remarks
Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health, said that the Department would be focusing on the accounts section of the 2019/20 annual report for the financial year that ended on 31 March 2020, which had been previously engaged with by the Standing Committee on Health at an earlier meeting.
The report did not take into account the COVID-19 pandemic, since it was prior to the pandemic.
2019 was the year of the elections and the beginning of another term in office for government. It was the year that the previous Head of Department (HOD) had retired and the new HOD, who was the Deputy Director-General (DDG) at the time, had taken over. It was also a year of celebration, as it was the year in which the Department received its second clean audit. So far, the Western Cape Department of Health (DoH) was the only health department that had received a clean audit in South Africa.
Although celebrations were in order, the Department was not so naïve as to celebrate only the finest part of the clean audit without looking closely to see if it had achieved all it needed to achieve in terms of the indicators relating to health outcomes. The outcomes under the year under review had focused on the survival of children up to their fifth birthdays at the very least, as well as ensuring that mothers did not die during pregnancy and child birth.
It was also the year that featured some activities surrounding the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill, which was part of the public hearings where the Department had volunteered to the National DoH (NDoH) to pilot universal health coverage. At the time, the Department had hosted meetings and officials. Being the political ears to the Eastern Cape Province in the KZN, by visiting each, it had identified areas where universal health coverage could be piloted.
Although the annual report reflected some irregular expenditure, the mere fact that the Department was able to achieve a clean audit in the end showed that the threshold of the irregular expenditure was not up to the level that would necessitate a finding by the AG.
The 2019/20 financial year was also the year that the Department focused more on infrastructure. In previous years, it had not utilised all the money allocated to it for infrastructure, but in the year under review, it had ensured that it had provided its implementing agent, the Department of Public Works (DPW), and their contractors with the necessary details to help with identifying which infrastructure should be prioritised out of the many infrastructures needing attention. Hence, the year under review saw a lot of progress, with many of the results expected to manifest in the current financial year. She also pointed out that she had initiated many projects in 2019. An example was the opening of Laingsberg Clinic yesterday.
She thanked the team under Dr Keith Cloete, while noting that it was not easy to tackle many of the complex indicators. The job entrusted to the Department was quite difficult and enormous, even at the district level. It would be interesting to see what the report of the 2020/21 financial year would bring, especially with the additional layer of personal protective equipment (PPE), and 2021/22 with the additional layer of vaccines.
Introductory remarks by the Head of Department: Western Cape Department of Health
Dr Keith Cloete, HOD, Western Cape Department of Health, introduced the Department’s team present at the meeting, and said the 2019/20 annual report under review was the last financial year with Dr Beth Engelbrecht as the accounting officer. As the new HOD, he oversaw the audit process for activities happening in the last year of the previous HOD’s term. Dr Engelbrecht had put a lot of things in place and done a lot of good work, the benefits of which the Department was still reaping.
The first year of his tenure had been disrupted by the pandemic, and this explained why the annual report of the previous financial year was only now being presented before the Committee.
He went on to thank the office of the AG for their robust engagement; the audit committee for the manner in which he was welcomed as an accounting officer and how the committee had engaged with the Department constructively; and the team in internal audit.
As an accounting officer, he took his role seriously by ensuring that he was informed of the resources given to the Department through combined assurance entities; and also ensure that these resources were used effectively and efficiently for the benefit of the citizens of the Western Cape. He had an incredible team of people helping him to achieve his duties and perform oversight functions.
The discussions the Committee would be having with the Department would further buttress how he was taking his duties as an accounting officer seriously by welcoming engagements with the AG, the internal audit, the audit committee and oversight committees like the SCOPA.
He thanked the Committee for the opportunity given to present the Department’s annual report.
2019/20 Annual Report: discussion
The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee would be dealing with Part C (pages 103 to 116) and Part E (pages159 to 163) of the annual report (AR). He opened the floor for Members to ask questions on Part C of the report.
Ms N Nkondlo (ANC) made reference to page 106, and sought clarity on the extent of sexual harassment in the workplace in terms of it being a significant risk in the Department, and what was being done to prevent it.
On the strategic risk of aging infrastructure and health technology, she asked the Department for a detailed report on the state of the facilities in the province, as well as updates on renovations and refurbishments. This would help the Committee to have an understanding of which hospitals were in a worrying state and what plans were in place to renovate them. This was particularly important, considering that some limitations had been placed on infrastructure projects due to the observance of COVID-19 protocols.
Referring to human resources (HR) matters on page 111, she wanted to know how the Department intended to minimise its reliance on sessional workers, and what was currently hindering the Department from employing more permanent staff.
She ended by requesting a progress report on the implementation of the preferential procurement policy (see page 116), and an explanation for the reason behind the delays in getting such a progress report.
Mr M Xego (EFF) referred to the approved anti-fraud and corruption plan (see page 106), and asked if the plan was effective, especially since the Department reported the fraud and corruption cases stated in the annual report (see page 107). He asked for details of the case that was reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS), as noted on page 107.
Making reference to the “code of good practice” under the criteria for development and implementation of a preferential procurement policy (see page 116), he asked if any progress had been made in this regard. As for the rest of the criteria that contained indications of information not available, he wanted to know the reason for the unavailability of information, and if the said information was now available.
Dr Cloete began by commenting that the questions raised were similar to what the Standing Committee on Health had raised at an earlier meeting that same day.
With regard to sexual harassment, the Department had a process of recruitment and selection to determine whether if anyone that came into its employ had been found guilty of any offences, or was part of a victim process. The process required finding out if any such person had been dismissed or disciplined in any other department for similar events or sexual acts/misconduct, or had a police cases.
There was a vetting process before people were employed. In the workplace, the Department had a clear process of encouraging its staff to report sexual harassment; had zero tolerance for sexual harassment; had a very strict disciplinary process; and ensured that anyone accused of sexual harassment faced preliminary and precautionary suspension. The Department carried out rapid investigations, and if there was any substance to allegations, it went straight to the disciplinary process. If a member of staff was found guilty during the disciplinary process, a sanction of dismissal was meted out immediately. The Department also had an awareness programme to encourage all personnel to be open about sexual harassment.
On the report of facilities, the Department usually had a list of facilities attached to its annual report. The Standing Committee had earlier requested the Department to provide a detailed report of all facilities. It could also make this detailed report available to the provincial Committee.
On the question of sessional staff, he clarified that the Department had people employed on a contract basis. The big areas of contract could be found in cases of young doctors working as interns or as community service doctors, which was a placement usually done via legislation and regulation for a period of time. The mechanism for employment of these doctors was contract-based, and they were not permanent employees. Also, doctors that enrolled to become specialists and were learning for their speciality were employed in contract positions. Contract positions were a reality of the Department’s situation.
The big issue at hand was about using people via agencies. To address this, the Department had developed a pilot programme referred to in Part D (human resources) of the annual report. The new strategy was to create a post for an internal agency in the Department, instead of employing people via agencies. The internal agency would experience staff rotation; funds utilised for an external agency would instead be used to employ additional people, and in the end, the Department would be able to tackle the dependency on external agencies. This strategy would be used for non-fulltime employees in the Department.
On the preferential procurement policy, he pointed out that at the time of preparing the annual report, the provincial treasury had released a clear set of guidelines for preferential procurement policy in October 2019. The Department had a process in terms of good practice that was applied to its standard procurement processes. The broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) compliance process was incorporated in each of the Department’s processes. Since the preparation of the annual report under the review, the Department had put systems in place and was implementing a preferential procurement policy based on the treasury regulations.
On the question of the effectiveness of the fraud and corruption prevention and implementation plan, the Department was of the opinion that it was effective. The cases reported in the annual report were few. The plan was one in which the Department heightened the awareness of ethical behaviour. It had also put systems in place to detect any untoward practice. If any such practice was picked, the Department would investigate. It also encouraged whistle blowers amongst staff members. The engagement with the Provincial Forensic Services (PFS), as highlighted on page 106, was really about cases that the Department had to follow carefully to detect any fraud for the purpose of reporting it to the SAPS. In the end, only one case had been referred to the SAPS.
Mr Simon Kaye, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said that what generally got referred to the SAPS was fronting cases, but the cases and details of the cases were usually handled by the Provincial Forensic Services (PFS).
(There was a network glitch that stopped him from continuing.)
Dr Cloete added that the details of the case had been handled by the PFS. He then asked another Departmental official to give details of the case.
The official said the case happened a while ago, and had involved a supplier who in terms of the B-BBEE Act, was found to be fronting. Based on those findings, the Department had flagged the case. The PFS handled all referrals specifically to the SAPS.
Discussion: Part E of Annual Report
Ms D Baartman (DA) referred to Table 4.3 under conditional grants, and particularly to the Department’s statement that there were “insufficient funds available at the National Department of Health to reimburse the Department for the short funding of the 2020 medical intern intake (186 posts) as previously committed” (see page 206). What did this mean? Did the NDoH owe the Western Cape Department R12 million, and would they pay it? If not, why not?
She referred to the indication of an “increase… due to bursaries offered to nurses for postgraduate studies on a study by assignment basis. Cost of these qualification modules also increased by more than 8% during the current year,” as highlighted on page 223, and commented that the increase was a bit more than the inflation rate. She therefore sought clarity on what had contributed to the increase of about 8%, especially since the inflation rate was just over 6%.
Ms Nkondlo referred to the under-expenditure on the compensation of employees (COE) (see page 203), and wanted to know what the reasons for the delays in filling the senior posts were, what the posts yet to be filled were, and what the implication of not filling these posts to service delivery was.
Which projects were affected by underspending on health facilities; which facilities, because of that underspending, could not be maintained; and what was being done to correct the situation?
While referring to debts written off, particularly with regard to “salary overpayment” and “supplier debtors,” (see page 226) she asked the Department to shed light on how the salary overpayment and supplier debtors had occurred and what remedial action had been taken to prevent a recurrence.
On the local content policy (see page 239), she sought clarity on the Department’s standpoint on the application of the local content policy; whether the Department was applying the policy; and what challenges the Department had faced in this regard.
Referring to the Valkenberg hospital project that was put on hold due to the unavailability of funds (see page 252), she wanted to know how this situation come about and what effort had the Department made to secure funding in the current financial year in order to continue with the project.
On the question of payment of interns not covered by the NDoH, Dr Cloete clarified that the Department had a process with the national Department. The NDoH would normally ask the provincial Department if it could take on interns, and the provincial Department would in turn indicate that it could accommodate interns on the premise that an appropriate financial allocation to accommodate the interns would be received. In the case at hand, the Department had not receive sufficient funding needed for the interns sent, and had had to carry over a deficit of R12 million used in servicing the interns. Since the financial year closed on 31 March of every year, there was no way to recoup the money from the NDoH. The Department had, however, made it clear in subsequent years that it would no longer take on an unfunded mandate as it related to interns.
Regarding the delays in filling senior posts at emergency medical services (EMS), he clarified that the delays here was for filling the EMS director post. The Department did advertise the post, but had not received sufficient applicants with the experience needed to fill the post, as the requirements for the post were very high.
On the issue of contractors and contracts being delayed, the contract in question was for the Aero Medical Transport service for patients, which was a helicopter service that required helicopter visits to pick up critically ill patients and air-lift them, since ambulances would take too long. The Department had set stricter criteria for air medical services in this regard, as it was quite an expensive service to provide.
Ms Benedict Arries, Chief Director (CD): People Management, responded to the question around bursaries for postgraduate studies by assignment, that had seen the qualification modules increase by 8% -- higher than the inflation rate -- and confirmed that the Department offered bursaries to clearly identified nurses that were already in its employ to do speciality training at a higher cost than normal, but only for that year. The Department had reverted back to the status quo and would be paying much less now.
On the question of debts written off due to salary overpayment and supplier debtors, an official clarified that scenarios where salary overpayments could occur included instances where a member of staff resigned, but due to incomplete administrative processes, was still paid a salary. However, it would be noticed that the amount of salary overpayment debt had been reduced from R3 million in the previous year to R1 million in the year under review. The Department was still working on controlling issues of salary overpayment, and had handed over this issue to a debt collector as part of its good governance process. Although the debts had been written off, the Department had not relented in recovering these funds from the individuals involved.
As for the supplier debts, what generally happened was once the Department contacted a supplier and the supplier was unable to provide products as agreed in the contract, the Department would have to purchase such products from other suppliers at a higher cost. It would then raise an invoice for the difference of the increased amount paid for any such product as a debt, and then try to recover such amount from the supplier it initially drew up a contract with. In the case under review, the Department had reached a point where it had to write off the debt with its suppliers, but again, the matter had been handed over to the debt collectors, as in all the other scenarios.
Dr Cloete said the issue of local content and the local content policy being applied incorrectly had been included in the list of irregular expenditure. He handed over to Mr Kaye to explain further.
Mr Kaye said part of this particular batch concerned the requirement for local content in steel, and unfortunately the Department was unable to produce steel to the extent that was needed. He explained further that sometimes local content could involve baked beans -- there were all sorts of strange elements around local content that may not be fully understood and complied with at a decentralised level. Whenever these elements were identified, a number of training programmes were set in motion by the governance team. There were series of programmes that were run from the supply chain perspective, as well in the Department’s internal control unit.
He said that although Dr Cloete had spoken about certain layers of assurance, he had not necessarily touched on the internal level of assurance. The Department’s internal level of assurance was two-fold. The first one was management control, which came through in terms of the Department’s delegation framework that clearly articulates the roles of staff members. The second level was a dedicated internal control unit deployed from the central level, to test all compliance at the institutional level to identify irregular expenditure. Much more than identifying irregular expenditure, the team trained the staff on identifying and understanding what constituted irregular expenditure.
Dr Cloete added that the specific instance of local content under review occurred only in abnormal situations. The Department had fully implemented the local content policy the policy, but there were certain instances where it encountered unusual circumstances not foreseen by the policy. In such instances, the internal audit team would recommend training and proffer solutions to deal with the circumstances for future purposes. This was besides the training and recommendations usually given by the supply chain team.
The Chairperson sought clarity on what the provincial government’s policy was on the issue of interns, since the Department had said that interns were usually placed by the NDoH.
Dr Cloete clarified that the Department had gazetted intern posts. The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) visits provinces; assesses sites for accreditation to host interns; and when interns were placed in a site, the Department had to ensure that the necessary exposure needed for such interns to become qualified doctors was provided. There had to be certain things that these interns could learn, and supervisors had to be provided in each area before the skills and competencies of interns could be signed off. For this reason, the Department provided an intern coordinator in each accredited site and funded the coordinators.
When requests were made by the NDoH for the placement of interns, the Department would consider if there was a need for accreditation, if supervisors were available, and if funds were available to take on interns. In situations like the one at hand, where the Department was unable to fund additional interns, it informed the NDoH about insufficient capacity and funds to take on interns, and then requests additional funds.
Dr Mbombo added that the interns had already completed their academic work in universities, and now needed to finalise their vocational requirements in order to practice. What Dr Cloete was explaining was that the NDoH was the custodian in charge of placement for the interns. However, the accreditation of sites was not limited to the interns -- it applied to all other health professionals, such as nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, and so on.
To break this down even further, if Tygerberg was accredited for 70 interns, for instance, it would mean that the Department had already calculated the number of beds; the number of interns that would be needed to service those beds; the number of supervisors that would be needed for the interns; and how the interns would be rotated across units like gynaecology, nursing, physiotherapy and so on; as well as the duration that each intern would spend in every unit. It was therefore not as easy as it might seem to take on interns when the Department was short-staffed. The interns become a part of the Department, and the Department had to ensure that they were placed in accredited sites that would help them achieve their licence to practice.
On the issue of local content in the context of the health sector, she said it was quite challenging as there were products that many other corporate companies may consider as local content but in actual fact, it was only the assembly of the products that was done locally. For instance, one of the cases she was handling involved the assembling of equipment for drips for intravenous therapy which the company claimed was produced locally, but which the Department of the Trade and Industry (DTI) objected to as it was discovered that the parts for the product were bought outside the country but were assembled locally, and therefore could not be regarded as local content. This was why it was important for companies to work with the DTI so that they could understand that there were other aspects to the definition and implementation of local content policy. This also applied to the pharmaceutical companies, especially in cases of vaccines and their filling, which were sourced outside and assembled locally. These were some of the complexities surrounding the local content policy.
Follow up questions
Ms Nkondlo said the observation made by the Minister on the limitations of the Health Sector in implementing the local content policy should be taken seriously. The Minister was correct to propose engagement with the DTI, and not just the DoH, especially as it related to the procurement of goods and services not just in the health sector, but in other industries. This would help determine what was possible when it came to the manufacturing capacity within the health sector. She urged the Committee to consider an engagement with the DTI as part of the Committee’s resolution, for the purpose of gaining clarity on what local content entailed, especially in relation to sourcing products outside the country, but assembling such products locally.
Ms R Windvogel (ANC) wanted to know what material misstatements had been identified before the Department had corrected them.
With reference to “current payments” on page 205, she wanted to know if any approval for the over-expenditure recorded had been granted by the Provincial Treasury and if not, what process had been followed for this expenditure.
Referring to recoverable revenue on page 209, she wanted to know what the extent of the debts written off were, the reason for them, and for how long the debts had existed.
Referring to cash flows from operating activities on page 210, she wanted to know what the funds were earmarked for, and from which programmes they had been taken. How much was for the compensation of employees?
Dr Cloete said that with the material misstatements, the AG had looked out for indicators under programme 2, which included the average length of stay in hospital, and then taken samples, only to find some discrepancies between the records on the system and in the files. For instance, in some hospitals, the record on the system showed that some patients stayed for five days, while the record on the file showed a different number of days. In order to correct these discrepancies, the Department had to go to all district hospitals to carefully consider system and file records and correct any discrepancies that may exist. This was followed by another round of sampling by the AG and this time, no discrepancies were found.
On the issue regarding the compensation of employees (see page 205), he said this had previously being dealt with, as it was related to the issue of the interns, for which the Department had paid R12 million and had incorporated this into its expenditure.
On the question of irrecoverable amounts written off, which was R7 million the year before, and R3 million in the year under review, an official said the statement was just another way of reflecting the actual cash movement of the amounts written off. It basically showed pure cash movement in a particular year, which focused on the items listed in the report such as bursaries, supply debts or salary overpayments, as debts that had been written off.
Dr Cloete added that this amount was the monetary value of the debts written off after all efforts had been made to recover the debts listed. As was shown in the report, the amount was reduced from R7 million to R3 million, which showed that the Department was still following up and had been recovering more and more debts, and fewer irrecoverable debts were being written off.
On the question about the net increase in cash and cash equivalents, under cash flows from financing activities (see page 210), a Department official said that cash and cash equivalents literally looked at the money that one had in the bank. Depending on what day a Department’s year ended, and the timing of its final payment grant, there were payments that went off. As soon as the Department released those payments, they were regarded as paid. However, sometimes the money might physically leave the Department’s bank accounts and into its supplier’s account only two or three days later. This was a banking system mechanism. This then led to significant fluctuations in the Department’s cash flow statements as reflected here.
Ms Windvogel said the answer to her last question was not clear enough. What she wanted to know was what programme the money recorded under “surrendered revenue fund” (see page 210) was earmarked for, and from which programmes the funds were taken.
The Department explained what surrendering funds involved. If it did not utilise its full funded allocation, it had to surrender the remnant to the provincial Treasury. It could then request a rollover of those surrendered funds after meeting certain specific criteria, and such funds would be returned normally in the adjustments budget in November or December, following the closure of the financial year. Sometimes, the Department could request that such funds be pushed over to the outer years because of funding pressures. This was just a mechanism to ensure good governance. In essence, the Department kept only the funds necessary to keep its operations running, and all surplus funds were returned to the provincial Treasury for utilisation and reallocation as deemed fit by the Treasury to ensure cash flow management.
Dr Cloete added that funds from all programmes that reflected under-spending were returned to Treasury, but in the Department’s negotiations for allocations in the next financial year, a lot of the money that it surrendered got reallocated back to it in a future year.
Dr Cloete appreciated the Committee for its engagement, one which the Department viewed as a full circle of accountability. Last year, the Committee had asked the Department to follow up on some issues, and it had indeed followed through.
The Department also took very seriously the oversight process of the audit committee, and respected the entire audit committee team. It worked very closely with internal audit and followed through with its own internal process, as previously explained by Mr Kaye. It welcomed the engagement of the AG in relation to being an accountable organisation, and believed that its performance spoke to the accountability and oversight roles of these committees. The Department believed this interaction was the essence of good governance.
He also thanked the members of his team for being committed, especially at such a difficult time as the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included handling the requests for information (RFIs); working with the audit committee to conclude the annual report; working tirelessly to make the necessary corrections, and so on. He described his team as comprising of incredibly committed and ethical people that worked for the best interests of the citizens of the Western Cape.
Dr Mbombo appreciated the Committee, the AG, the audit committee, and the national SCOPA in absentia. While noting that the Department reported more to the provincial Standing Committee, she said that the Department did not take lightly its oversight function. This was particularly because health financing was part of the system within the health sector. Irrespective of the fact that the staff involved in the health financing system were rarely seen, the entire health sector would not function appropriately without the smooth running of the health financing system. Delivery of medicine or infrastructure would not be possible if there was no financing. It was for this reason that the Provincial Committee and the SCOPA’s role in making sure that the Department utilised tax payer’s monies appropriately was appreciated.
She also appreciated the public, because a major part of the revenue received in the Western Cape (about R500 million a year) was obtained from patients’ fees and the payment of services by citizens of the province. It was encouraging that more people did not see the need to go to private hospitals, and instead trusted that they could get the same quality of health services from the Department. Other sources of revenue include donations, and for that, the Department was grateful.
Still explaining how crucial financing was to the health sector, the Minister said that the Department, through the HOD and his team, had an obligation to appraise her on a monthly basis on the status and progress of the Department. This was the type of good practice conducted in the Department, especially in relation to risk mitigation. This practice was also conducted by the audit committee every six weeks, and by the AG continuously on a quarterly basis. It was important for political heads to be monitored and attend to every finding or specific detail brought to the attention of the Department through a finding by the AG, rather than just to brag about achieving a clean audit. She thanked the Committee for their efforts to keep the Department on its toes.
The AG appreciated the invitation by the Committee to support in its accountability and governance responsibility.
The audit committee thanked the Committee for the role it plays in conducting oversight over the Department. It also thanked the Minister and HOD for the work done in the Department.
The Chairperson asked the procedural officer if there had been any indication from members of the public that they wanted to make any inputs or ask any questions on the report, since the meeting was public.
The procedural officer replied that there had been no indication from members of the public during the meeting to ask any questions or make any contributions, neither had any input been received from the public via media adverts prior to the meeting.
The Chairperson appreciated the involvement of the Department, the Minister, the audit committee and the AG. He noted that the questions asked by Members were not aimed at tackling the Department, but to ensure that good governance was observed.
He asked the Members if there were any resolutions to be taken, based on the report presented to the Committee.
Ms Windvogel said an area of concern for her was the record of the R38.3 million irregular expenditure. It would be helpful if the Committee could ask the Department to provide a detailed report on each of the 548 cases reported. She also asked that a detailed report be requested on the contract mentioned on page 239 of the annual report -- what the contract entailed, and how it was completed.
Ms Nkondlo raised a point for follow up with the Department on the application of the local content policy in the DoH. It would be helpful for the Department to provide the Committee with more details on any areas of difficulty in sourcing local content on the various goods and services it procures. It would be important to understand the challenges with sourcing specific goods and services in the health space in light of the feasibility or applicability of the local content policy within the framework of health products. This would also help to determine if the local content policy could be implemented in the Department, or not.
The Chairperson said the issues raised for follow up engagement with the Department had been taken note of, and requests for detailed reports and explanations on the issues raised would be made.
The meeting was adjourned.
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