MEC’s irresponsible Ladysmith taxi decision endangers residents’ lives

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

 

MEC’s irresponsible Ladysmith taxi decision endangers residents’ lives

 

The KZN Transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda’s short-sighted and unilateral decision to ban taxi’s from entering Ladysmith has not only affected business and services; it is now also affecting residents in need of health care and could potentially cost lives.

The DA has therefore written to the Premier Willies Mchunu and Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo requesting that they work together with their cabinet colleague, transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda to urgently prioritise the healthcare needs of residents of the Alfred Duma Municipality in resolving this disaster of their own making.

Road closures by massive rocks have hampered the movement of ambulances and staff to and from hospitals and clinics. This has the potential to leave wards in the Ladysmith Hospital without nurses. This situation will worsen at the end of each shift that will see massive absenteeism as a result of the blockade.

The DA is also informed that the following clinics have had to shut down for safety reasons and will greatly affect the most vulnerable. The toll on lives and livelihood is unthinkable.

The closed clinics are:

  • Nkuthu/Zaaifontein;
  • Driefontein;
  • Watersmeet;
  • Matiwaneskop;
  • KwaMteyi;
  • eZakheni – all 3 clinics;
  • St Chads CHC and clinics; and
  • Steadville

The KZN Premier needs to keep checking on his MECs more so now than ever before. Their short-sighted decisions are increasingly endangering the lives of residents. The DA calls on Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo to urgently restore healthcare services by ensuring that:

  • Emergency services are provided  with armed escorts when responding to emergency calls in volatile areas
  • An urgent arrangement is made to manage staff movements and shift changes at the Ladysmith hospital to ensure a smooth service;
  • Those staff members who cannot return home safely are provided with adequate housing and rest to manage extra shifts if necessary; and
  • All clinics are provided with extra security during this dangerous time, and that additional resources are made available to respond to medical emergencies in event that such additional services are required. Even if this requires the enlisting of medical personnel stationed at the military base in Ladysmith.

The short-sighted and irresponsible behaviour of this uncaring ANC government has brought about the turmoil that residents are now experiencing. They deserve better. They deserve a new beginning with a government that will prioritise their healthcare and safety needs, not endanger their lives.

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