Northern Cape pays R8.6m a year to store scrapped ambulances

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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.

A report on the Polity site says that it recently came to light during a legislature committee meeting that Northern Cape Health is paying over R8.6m per year for two storage facilities, one in Upington and one in Kimberley, where decommissioned ambulances are just gathering dust. 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.

The DA said: “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.”

Report on the Polity site

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