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DA accuses Bhisho of undermining Human Rights Commission

Jul 17, 2018
DA accuses Bhisho of undermining Human Rights Commission

The desperate shortage of ambulances in the Eastern Cape is a crisis that is costing lives, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says.

"I challenge the MEC, Helen Sauls-August, to spell out clear action steps to overcome this disastrous state of affairs. People are dying on your watch, MEC," said Jane Cowley (MPL), DA Member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.

"In response to questions set in the Legislature, the MEC for Health, Helen Sauls-August, acknowledged that the province requires 656 working ambulances in order to comply with the national norm of 1 ambulance per 10 000 people.

"However, the current fleet consists of only 447 ambulances, and there are no plans to increase the fleet. This, despite the South African Human Rights Commission ordering the Department of Health to comply with the norm from as early as 2015."

To view the responses, please click HERE:

According to Cowley, 200 of these 447 ambulances are currently grounded, either for repairs, writing off or de-fleeting.

"So effectively there is one ambulance for every 32 800 people in the province. Further exacerbating this dire situation is the desperate shortage of Emergency Services personnel. Consequently ambulance personnel are expected to work longer shifts, and even need police escorts in some areas due to gang related violence or protest violence," she said. 

"In some rural areas where there are no ambulances, it can cost a patient up to R800 to catch a taxi to the nearest clinic or hospital - this is half of a monthly grant. Patients are dying and women are giving birth on the side of the road while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. In many instances families are forced to push their desperately ill family members for kilometers in wheelbarrows to try to reach the nearest clinic. "

She said that it is clear that the ANC does not care about the people of the Eastern Cape.

"However, their continued violation of the rights of the sick in this province tell a very different story - a story of maladministration and a distinct lack of political will to make the necessary changes within the department to make it functional."