No remorse from MEC Dhlomo for abuse of medical helicopter

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

Leader of the Democratic Alliance in the KZN Legislature

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has called on Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo to apologise to the people of KwaZulu-Natal for his delayed response to wide-spread public concerns around his use of a medical emergency service helicopter.

The DA has today tabled a motion in the KZN legislature calling for changes to the way medical aircraft are used in the province. The motion also refers to the callous handling of a reaction by crash victim Asheen Maharaj’s family to the unavailability of a medical helicopter because the MEC was using it 350km away.

Yesterday, the MEC made an executive statement in the provincial legislature. Most alarming was the lack of real remorse shown by him. In putting off his response to the people of this province, the MEC not only caused his own public relations debacle, he also showed a remarkable lack of consideration for the feelings of the public. The confusing and often deceitful responses to media enquiries by KZN health officials merely exacerbated the situation.

The DA believes that MEC Dhlomo abused his power and behaved recklessly by using the metro’s only medical emergency helicopter. We expect him to examine his own conscience when it comes to such decisions in the future. Changes must be made to the contract between the Health Department and emergency vehicle suppliers to prevent all future abuses of this nature. In addition, all contracts for helicopters used by the provincial cabinet must urgently be reviewed.

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