Port Elizabeth – The Eastern Cape health department has been ordered to cut its budget by R205m and stop the appointment of all new doctors, according to a report on Thursday.
The instruction from the provincial treasury is a bid to recoup on an over-expenditure of nearly R660m, The Herald reported.
According to a letter written by the treasury last month, the measures must be implemented in the current financial year.
The treasury forecasts a further overdraft of R452m if drastic cost-cutting strategies are not implemented.
Junior Doctorsâ€™ Association of SA chairperson Tende Makofane said doctors on the ground were extremely upset.
â€œThe fact that all appointments have been stopped affects more than 400 junior doctors in the province.
â€œWe have called on the minister of health and the national treasury to intervene,â€? he said.
â€œWe reserve the right to take legal action if we do not reach a favourable outcome.â€?
Health superintendent-general Dr Siva Pillay said in a letter to treasury that his department would employ 1 114 doctors during this financial year.
â€œIt cannot be classified as new additional appointments because we are absorbing those doctors who completed their community service. It is the same people. Nothing is going to change. Doctors will be appointed,â€? he said.