Criminals who destroyed ambulance must be brought to justice

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Shadow MEC for Health

The despicable act of deliberately torching a new ambulance during protest action in Booysen Park, Port Elizabeth, last night is a criminal act and the perpetrators must be found and brought to justice.

In a time when our provincial Health Department is trying to deal with severe budget constraints and crippling staff shortages, medical facilities and ambulances, this act of arson by a disgruntled community is disgraceful and must be dealt with harshly.

Sadly, it is these very community members that will have to live with the consequences of such hooliganism, as there is now even less resources available to provide them with the necessary services.

According to national norms and standards, there should be one ambulance per 10 000 people in the province. This would equate to about 600 ambulances in the Eastern Cape. Sadly, due to budget and other constraints, the province currently has less than 300 functional ambulances to serve its citizens.

Now we have one less. How will this improve matters? It will not.

What will happen is that patients will now experience even longer turnaround times, as emergency personnel stretch themselves and their resources even further. Not to mention the negative impact this has on staff morale, with paramedics hesitant to enter these no-go areas.

I have written to the MEC for Safety and Security, Weziwe Gxothiwe – Tikana, to urge her to undertake a full investigation into this criminal act and bring these criminals to book.

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I will also submit questions to the MEC for Health, Sindiswa Gomba, to request an update on the status of our ambulances in the province, in order to find a way forward that will bring relief to emergency services and the patients they serve.

The Democratic Alliance rejects any act of violence, particularly when it destroys infrastructure and impacts negatively on the health and safety of others.

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