The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape has called on the MEC of health, Fufe Makatong, to urgently operationalise ambulances gathering dust at the government garage in Kimberley.
This came after a newborn baby in De Aar tragically passed away before she was even given an opportunity to receive health care because an ambulance never attended to an emergency call.
Vuyokazi Twane, who ended up giving birth at her home in De Aar, waited for two hours before neighbours eventually took her and her baby, who was still attached by the umbilical cord, to hospital after the ambulance had still not arrived.
“Sadly, her baby boy died on the way to the hospital,” said DA Northern Cape provincial spokesperson for health Isak Fritz in a statement.
The DA said they had visited the family to extend their sympathies.
“This is an unforgiveable failure on the part of the health department. They are meant to help save lives, not help take lives.
“For years on end, the Northern Cape health department has been battling to offer an efficient and effective emergency service to the poorest of the poor. They are always short on vehicles, allegedly because vehicles have been written off in accidents, or they are in for repairs or they are awaiting to be converted into new ambulances. They are also always short on personnel, and in many instances continue to operate single-crew ambulances. Response times also, more often than not, fall short of meeting the golden hour.”
They referenced reports that 50 vehicles, including two ambulances, all of which were said to belong to the health department, were gathering dust in the government garage.
“This is unacceptable. People are dying because there are not enough ambulances on our roads.
“The DA will write to Makatong, asking her to provide a detailed explanation of the vehicles that are stagnating in the government garage. We also call on her to urgently give attention to the pitiful Emergency Medical Service in the province by reprioritising the budget, recruiting additional EMS staff members, repairing old vehicles and settling outstanding debts, that are most probably the cause of the vehicles standing idol in garages.
“The DA is heartbroken by baby Twane’s untimely death and we cannot help but wonder whether he may have still been alive today had an ambulance been there on time.”