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DA wants EC Health Dept placed under administration in wake of scooter bungle

This comes after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize stressed that the use of scooter ambulances as a form of patient transport in the province did not meet the basic emergency medical services regulations.

Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba tests out the province's EMS scooters. Picture: Healthmec/Facebook

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said that a call for the Eastern Cape Department of Health to be placed under administration had become urgent.

This comes after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize replied to a parliamentary question posed by the party on the suitability of scooters to be used as ambulances in the province.

DA Health Shadow Minister, Siviwe Gwarube, said that when the initiative was launched on 12 June, Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gompa said that the purpose of the scooters was to ferry patients from rural areas to the nearest health facilities.

But in his reply, Mkhize stressed that the use of scooter ambulances as a form of patient transport did not meet the basic emergency medical services regulations.

He stated that the scooters would only be used to deliver medication in rural parts of the Eastern Cape.

Gwarube said that according to Mkhize, the province didn't consult the national Department of Health on the specifications of these scooters but had since been advised that they fell foul of the regulations governing patient transport.

"The MEC has recently argued that the department is bankrupt yet R10 million has now been wasted on scooters that will not be able to be used to assist patients who need it the most."

Gwarube said that the Eastern Cape was one of the provinces that was dismally failing to mount a decent response to the Covid-19 crisis.

"It now begs the question why R10 million will be wasted on glorified wheelbarrows when in fact this money could be put to better use. The province is struggling to fill critical vacancies and so this waste of money is a slap in the face to the people of the Eastern Cape."

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