Still no emergency air service in Eastern Cape

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Shadow MEC for Health

Four months after the High Court set aside an interdict that prevented Black Eagle Ambulance Services from operating in the Eastern Cape, they have yet to leave the ground.

In their bid to have the interdict against them set aside, the company claimed that they had invested “immense expenditure” in preparing to carry out the contracted service. This included purchasing specialised equipment, refurbishing other equipment and contracting and training crew. They had allegedly also concluded purchase agreements to replace the two helicopters they were leasing.

The judge who saw fit to set aside the interdict claimed that the interests of justice dictated that Black Eagle should be allowed to continue rendering the service until the review of the tender process, which was allegedly riddled with anomalies, was complete.

To date, however, they have never ever even left the tarmac. It has become glaringly obvious that they are not capable of rendering this service at all.

I will write to the MEC to urgently request that this contract go out to tender again, so that a capable and competent company can provide the critical care air emergency service that has been denied the citizens of our province. How many people have paid for this abject failure with their lives?

I will further question why the PAIA application which I submitted in July to establish just who the owners, directors and shareholders of Black Eagle and the holding company (Leli Holdings) are, has still not received a response.

The alleged protection of a company that clearly cannot get its act together smacks of contracts for comrades. Our citizens, whose right to emergency health services has been completely compromised, deserve far better.