Sizwe Mchunu MPP
Leader of the DA in the KZN Legislature
Makhosazana Mdlalose MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Health
The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal calls for an explanation from provincial Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, after he earlier assured members of the province’s health portfolio committee that some 400 new vehicles, parked in a Durban field, would be upgraded and operational as ambulances by the end of 2012.
This week media a media report confirmed that the vehicles, purchased by the department as back-up for the 2010 World Cup, are still standing idle. Yet during a provincial health portfolio committee at the beginning of 2012, in reacting to concerns about the delays in converting the vehicles, both the MEC and the HOD gave their assurance that emergency equipment was at the time being fitted and that the vehicles would be fully operational by the end of the year.
The situation is shameful. The department has misled the very committee that is there to provide oversight. For this committee to have been misinformed in such a manner is a disgrace.
As members of provincial portfolio committees; MPP’s visit communities throughout KZN. Those Members representing the health portfolio committee always hear the same complaints – that there aren’t enough ambulances and that patients needing urgent medical attention are often made to wait for hours. Yet there are hundreds of vehicles, intended specifically for this purpose, that have been left parked in a field.
This situation is an indictment against the department and the MEC must account to the people of KwaZulu-Natal. He must explain why the upgrade of these vehicles has essentially been ignored despite the chronic shortage of ambulances in the province. He must also commit to the swift upgrade of these vehicles so that they can be utilised on our province’s roads as soon as possible.