A total of R546-million is still owing to suppliers at 15 hospitals around Gauteng, the province's health department said on Wednesday.
The problem lies in a combination of inefficiency by the Gauteng Shared Services Centre and a severe cash crunch arising from the provincial government's election-related splurge of R3-billion earlier this year.
"There is a process under way to settle these debts speedily," spokesperson Mandla Sidu said.
Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital owed R92-million, Chris Hani Baragwanath R77-million and Dr George Mukhari R59-million.
DA health spokesperson in Gauteng, Jack Bloom said this was despite "operation badala" (pay up) that Premier Nomvula Mokonyane set up.
"Small suppliers suffer particularly, and many simply go under because of late payments, some of which are owing for years.
"This is a real crisis as specialist medical equipment companies cannot continue to service sensitive equipment without being paid," he said in a statement.
Bloom said other hospitals that still owed suppliers millions included Bonalesedi and Anne Latsky Nursing Colleges, Kalafong, Tshwane District, Helen Joseph, Yusuf Dadoo, Tembisa, Weskoppies and Edenvale hospitals.