On 7 June 2022, SAMED held a member forum to provide feedback from engagements on addressing the escalating public sector debt and the way forward. SAMED has tracked outstanding public sector debt with its members for several years. And when it became apparent that the public sector debt had escalated to record highs, SAMED made considerable effort to address this.

Escalating public sector debt and extended payment timelines pose a significant threat to the sustainability of companies. Resulting in supply chain and service delivery disruptions then impede patient access to the care and medical technologies required to meet their healthcare needs. Additionally, these disruptions also adversely impact competition, weakening the sustainability of the industry and the South African economy more broadly.

SAMED submitted an appeal to the President to intervene in the matter, who in turn instructed the Director General at the National Department of Health to act and find resolution. The Director-General called on the various provincial departments, including NHLS, to address the debt and determine the way forward.

SAMED only had aggregated provincial data as submitted by our members and it became apparent in our engagements with the provincial health departments that a greater level of details was required for them to constructively and actively address the issue. Informed by the requirements of the provincial departments, SAMED has developed a template to capture this information and call on the financial teams of member companies to submit outstanding payment and purchase order data.

Accurate, up-to-date data assists us to communicate the seriousness of the matter, hold the various parties accountable and advocate for transparent, effective and on-time tender and payment processes. The new template and the accompanying process will replace the old portal mechanisms for data collection.

The data provided by members is treated with the utmost confidentiality and will only be seen by the SAMED Secretariat and no individual member company information will be shared with another. By providing the data, you consent to SAMED sharing it with provincial health departments, National Department of Health, the NHLS and National Treasury as is relevant.

On the third of each month, SAMED will send out a template to members to capture outstanding invoices/purchase orders (also known as after-effects or walking implants). The template must be completed and submitted by the 8th working day of that month to nicky@samed.org.za. Members are encouraged to consistently submit data as this provides SAMED with more accurate tracking for engaging the relevant parties.

Within the template, there is a tab called ‘GovContacts’. The contact information for key financial persons at the trading institutions can be found here and SAMED will update this as more information becomes available. If you have any key contacts at institutions, we request that these be added to columns I-M.
SAMED will not be advocating on a case-by-case basis and members are encouraged to continue following up through their usual channels. SAMED’s role will be to bring the collect matter before the various provinces and then those provinces will address the specifics with each member company individually. SAMED will not partake in the specific discussions (the payments or purchase orders due), however, we will continue to strengthen our relationship with the various departments to engage on a resolution of the collective issue (advocacy on the threat of deteriorating public sector payments and the required systems or workshops to mitigate against escalating debt).

Those who are participating in this important initiative are encouraged to send Nicky Tamboer (nicky@samed.org.za) a list of your financial team (those responsible for managing and collecting public sector figures) for SAMED to share with the provincial health departments. All other queries on the template or processes can also be addressed with Nicky who will escalate them if required.