Dr Imran Keeka, MPL
DA KZN Spokesperson on Health
KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo must immediately respond to claims by survivors of a horror ambulance accident near Nkandla that the driver of the departmental vehicle was under the influence at the time.
The accident took place last Friday while some 50 patients were being ferried to hospitals in the province. Four patients died and scores were seriously injured.
At the time, the MEC stated that the driver lost control of the vehicle due to bad weather.
The DA is shocked by this latest revelation on the part of the survivors.
It is made all the worse by the fact that those being transported were already ill. For them to be made to suffer further due to pure negligence is unforgivable.
Last week, DA KZN provincial leader, Sizwe Mchunu, issued a statement expressing his condolences to the families who had lost loved ones.
He also stated that the DA would not like to believe that the accident was caused by negligence.
It is often easy to write such negligence off as a mere accident. Yet accountability lies not only with this alleged lawbreaker, but squarely at the door of his employer as well.
The department should have measures in place to regularly check on drivers of all EMRS vehicles to ensure that there is no substance abuse. If not, it needs to develop such measures without delay. These tests need to be done voluntarily and as often as possible to avoid such wanton waste of life and untold suffering of the survivors.
The DA expects MEC Dhlomo to clarify the circumstances surrounding this accident. If indeed the driver of the ambulance was drunk, we expect him to act swiftly and ensure that this individual is not allowed to walk free.