Forty-nine million people or 83 per cent of the entire population of 59 million rely on the public healthcare system in South Africa. Coupled with a shortage of medical professionals, high migration, inequality and unemployment; healthcare provision is under extreme pressure. Due to negligence by the health professionals, provincial health departments had medical-legal claims estimated at R80 billion in 2017/18. In the same period, provincial health spending accounted for 33 per cent of total provincial expenditure of R570.3 billion or 6 per cent of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product. Despite this, healthcare outcomes are poor and provinces are inefficient in the use of the allocated funds. This warrants a scientific investigation into the technical efficiency of the public health system.