The help of the National Defence Force and private ambulance services should be called in to do the work of the Eastern Cape Department of Health before someone dies as a direct result of the current financial mess. The most basic health care service, namely ambulances, is currently not operational.

In the Blue Crane Municipality two people who needed emergency medical treatment this week could not be helped. In both cases the persons involved were informed that ambulances cannot be sent out, because the government-issue e-fuel petrol cards had expired and the cards had not been renewed. These incidents happened on the same day as it came to light that the Department of Health is bankrupt.

It is indeed a sad day when a government cannot provide basic healthcare to its citizens. The DA warned the Department of Health regarding its over expenditure repeatedly last year.

The news that the newly-appointed provincial health superintendent-general, Dr. Siva Pillay, has asked Finance Minster Pravin Gordhan for help is welcomed. However, the department is obviously in such a shambles that any outside intervention will take time to yield results. In the meantime, alternatives must be found, before innocent people die. The suffering of the poorest of the poor because of the incompetence of the ruling party’s administration cannot be tolerated any longer.

The DA proposes that the help of the National Defence Force and private ambulance companies be called in to alleviate the crisis. We also call on the Premier — once again — to show what she is made of and take action against those responsible for the financial woes of this province.

For further information, please contact Pine Pienaar, MPL on 082 446 1888