There’s a tug-of-war between the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the Northern Cape Health department.

The union accuses the department of wasteful expenditure after the purchase of 25 flat screen monitors. The monitors are used to facilitate video conferencing that links all hospitals in the province.

Nehawu alleges the provincial health department’s price tag for these goes up to R11 million. Money they say could have been used to improve hospitals’ infrastructure.

The department disagrees.

Moleme Moleme, Nehawu Branch Secretary of Northern Cape says: “We are of the view that it is wasteful expenditure because the TVs have been standing in the buildings gathering dust, becoming white elephants for over a period of two years. So we deem it as wasteful expenditure, because you cannot buy equipment that you deem necessary for service delivery, and you do not have the relevant infrastructure for it…”

The department of Health says purchasing the video conferencing monitors does not amount to wasteful expenditure. Instead, they say it will help cut travelling costs.

Mase Manopole Northern Cape MEC for Health says: “It’s not waste of money for me its rightful investment. We need to make a take a conscious decision to invest money where it’s needed.”

The department says it has started utilising conference video screens at all hospitals in the Northern Cape.