MBABANE: The Alliance Church clinics were forced to shutdown on Tuesday over unpaid salaries after the Eswatini Revenue Authority(SRA) allegedly 'grabbed' money from the health institutions bank accounts for outstanding taxes.
Reached for comments, Dumisani Masilela, the SRA Commissioner General said this was becoming common in heath facilities, however, he clarified that clinics are non-taxable entities, SRA only collects Pay as You Earn(PAYE) deducted from employees by the facility as a collecting agent for the revenue authority.
"But in most instances, you find that they deduct the money from the salaries for the employees but fail to transfer the money to the SRA, they then find themselves in trouble with us", said the SRA Commissioner General.
It has been disclosed that after the SRA grabbed money from the organisation\'s bank accounts, the clinics' Administrator rushed to request a subvention from government so that the nurses could receive their salaries, however, the Ministry of Health failed to assist but advised that they approach the bank for a loan.
An insider told this publication that the bank refused to approve the loan without a letter from the Ministry of Finance confirming when the money will be paid, as result, the health institutions were forced to shut down.
On Monday, the Administration of the Alliance Clinics released a memo informing clients that the clinics would be closed, allegedly due to challenges beyond their control.
"This serves to inform all our clients about clinic service closure from tomorrow(30/03/2021). Normal service to resume on the 06/04/2021. This is due to administrative challenges beyond our control" , read a memo dated 29 March 2021.
Reached for comments, Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU) confirmed the matter, saying the SRA forced the health institutions to close, after deducting revenue from its bank account.
"It is very true, we are informed that as a result nurses and other health workers have not received their salaries. This comes after the SRA deducted revenue from the account of the organisation as owed taxes while on the other hand Government has failed to subvent the organisation as usual. The organisation has closed all its facilities with the hope that they will open for operation once they receive their subvention from government. We call upon the government to facilitate the subvention to the organisation so that the nurses could receive their salaries and the people to continue receiving services", said the nurses union President.
When reached for comments, Musa Hlatshwayo,the Administrator of the Alliance Clinics confirmed that the clinics have closed but declined to comment any further.
“Let me not comment for now as we are still working on the matter”,he said
But Dr Simon Zwane, the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health said government has paid all subventions due to the Alliance Clinics for the financial year that just ended.
“The government paid all subventions due to the Alliance clinics in the just ended financial year”, said the Health PS.
SRA Commissioner General Dumisani Masilela