KZN’s 100 ‘new’ ambulances: MEC Dhlomo continues to mislead the people of our province

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on  Health

 KZN’s 100 ‘new’ ambulances: MEC Dhlomo continues to mislead the people of our province

 

Provincial Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo continues to mislead the people of KwaZulu-Natal by releasing statements which give false hope when it comes to healthcare services in the province.

The MEC’s latest publicity stunt – the announcement that his Department intends to add 100 new ambulances to its fleet, implies that there will be more vehicles and ultimately an improved service.

Yet the truth is that many of these vehicles are in fact replacements. This was confirmed to the KZN Health Portfolio Committee last week by the Department’s Uthukela district manager during an oversight visit to the area. The DA’s own oversight visits to ambulance bases in KZN have also established this.

Effectively, what this means is that despite MEC Dhlomo’s announcement, there will be no extra ambulances in our service. To make matters worse, despite a total of R60.5 million having been budgeted for new ambulances for the current financial year, only 60 ambulances will be procured – an entirely different figure to that which he publicly pronounced this week. The number was confirmed during an earlier joint meeting of the province’s Health and Finance portfolio committees.

At any given time, KZN has some 180 ambulances on the road to service a population of almost 11 million people when, in terms of our national core standards, the province should have 1 057 vehicles. This is yet another serious indictment on MEC Dhlomo’s leadership.

To add to this, the MEC is also withholding information about ambulance services by failing to answer the DA’s written parliamentary questions on the matter. To date it has been several weeks since these reached his office yet, as is his habit, he continues to sit on his hands and delay accountability.

With election season upon us, the DA is unsurprised by the MEC’s attempt to deceive the public. It is, after all, his modus operandi – the promise to build a hospital in Umbumbulu being another one of his false assurances.

MEC Dhlomo has shown time and again that he is not up for the critical job of delivering a proper healthcare service to the millions of KZN residents who are completely dependent on him to do so. The Premier would do well to fire him. And MEC Dhlomo would do well to answer the DA’s parliamentary questions about ambulance services before he vacates office.

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