Provincialisation of ambulance services could mean the difference between life and death for Ekurhuleni residents

by Cllr. Hector Bogopane — DA Member of the Health and Social Development Oversight in Ekurhuleni

Date: 14 April 2021

Release: Immediate

Type: Media statement

Residents are suffering after the ANC Coalition-led City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) allowed the license to operate ambulances to lapse, thereby relinquishing it to the Gauteng Provincial Government in July 2020.

This error in judgement has created dire consequences for those who desperately require these emergency services. Within the ambit of provincial government, the centralised control centre lacks the local knowledge of Ekurhuleni communities, which creating delays in emergency response, which could mean the difference between life and death for the City’s residents.

This is clearly contrary to the slogan outlined in Outcome 9 of the National Development Plan, and championed by the CoE, which espouses a “responsive, accountable, effective and efficient development local government system.”

Nothing could be further from the truth, as residents, especially those residing in township communities, have had to withstand the worst of an ambulance service that is now more unresponsive than ever, with many of the City’s emergency response personnel sitting idly. Reports of residents having to use their private cars to transport the sick and injured to hospitals and clinics after waiting between three or four hours for an ambulance are commonplace.

The ”provincialisation” of our ambulance service has led to the gross underutilisation of our emergency personnel, meaning that the residents are the ones who ultimately suffer and whose lives are at risk.

It is clear that the provincialisation of ambulance services from Ekurhuleni have hindered their ability to provide critical services to our residents. While the need for these services has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, common accidents such as fire and crime-related incidents remain, necessitating the need for these services.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ekurhuleni has been long calling for ambulance services to remain a function of local government, however, the uncaring ANC and its coalition partners* have allowed the ambulance license to expire rendering our citizens more vulnerable than they already are.

In response to a similar disastrous policy implemented in the City of Tshwane, the City’s license with the Provincial Government to resume operating their own emergency services has been renewed. The DA calls on the City of Ekurhuleni to follow suit and take urgent measures to renew the license with the Gauteng Provincial Government, in order to resume providing emergency services for residents in need.

*ANC Coalition Partners: African Independent Congress (AIC), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and Independent Ratepayers Association of South Africa (IRASA)

Cllr. Hector Bogopane

DA Member of the Health and Social Development Oversight Committee in Ekurhuleni

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