by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
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Date: 14 November 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on the MEC of Health, Fufe Makatong, to urgently scrap costly storage costs for old and broken ambulances in the Northern Cape.
It recently came to light during a legislature committee meeting that the Health Department is paying over R8.6 million per year for two storage facilities, one in Upington and one in Kimberley, where decommissioned ambulances are just gathering dust.
This is wasteful and fruitless expenditure at its worst.
Decommissioned ambulances are vehicles that have been written off due to age, and ambulances with high usage and high repair costs. They are not mechanically safe to transport patients and cannot be used without putting vulnerable people at risk.
We cannot tolerate a situation whereby broken ambulances are costing the department millions of rands that could have been better spent on improving ailing Emergency Medical Services in the province.
There has been a serious decline in EMS performance due to a shortage of operational ambulances as a result of regular breakdowns and shortage of staff coupled with control centres that are not fully operational. In this regard, the department is only managing to attend to 32% emergencies in urban areas within 15 minutes, as opposed to the target of 60%. In other words, lives are at stake.
While MEC Makatong gave a commitment during the meeting last week that she will resolve this matter, the DA is calling on her to speed up the process. There are government properties that could be used for storage at a minimal cost and, if the ambulances cannot be repaired, they should be scrapped without delay.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that the health department directs its budget towards an efficient and effective emergency medical service that will help save lives, not help fill the pockets of connected individuals, who enter into self-enriching contracts with the health department.
DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
082 383 6914
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387