JOHANNESBURG - Mayor Herman Mashaba on Thursday unveiled 42 new ambulances that were bought by the City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS).
The mayor said he was "pleased" to announce the purchase of the new ambulances as part of the Fleet Replacement Programme to substitute the ageing and damaged vehicles.
He said the newly acquired fleet will assist EMS to respond effectively to the residents of Johannesburg with state-of-the-art ambulances.
"Today I was joined by the MMC for Public Safety Cllr Michael Sun and the acting executive head of emergency management Services, Ms Nomathemba Mtshali as we unveiled the 42 ambulances at Ivory Park Fire station," said Mashaba.
"These ambulances will now be handed over and distributed across various fire stations within the City. This will greatly assist with alleviating the strain to the current overstretched resources."
The new ambulances will replace the broken down and ageing fleet. This means the EMS now has a fleet of 101 ambulances.
"All 30 stations will each receive at least one ambulance and some will receive two, based on the call volume within that region. Indeed, the deployment of these vehicles will be directed to some of our poorest communities who experience some of the highest call volumes," said Mashaba.
On average the Emergency Command Centre receives over 30 000 emergency calls per month – ranging from medical, rescue and fire incidents.
Three years ago Johannesburg had an estimated population of 4.4 million, while the Greater Johannesburg metropolitan area had about 8 million residents.
"The addition of this fleet will enable our paramedics to deliver quality services, faster. Indeed, the City's EMS performance in responding to priority 1 medical calls currently averages at 85% within 15 minutes," said Mashaba.
"This said, I have been informed that the Gauteng Provincial Government intends on taking over the City of Johannesburg’s ambulance service. I am deeply concerned that the safety of our residents is at risk of being compromised should this take place.
"These concerns stem from the tragic Life Esidimeni affair when Gauteng’s Department of Health removed patients from private care. This lead to the deaths of 143 people."
Mashaba said while the province was within its rights to run its own ambulance service, he believes that the transfer of City ambulances to the province would greatly hamper service delivery.
He said in that regard, the City will continue engagements with the provincial government to safeguard the interests of the residents.
"I encourage residents of Johannesburg to also take pride in the new fleet and ensure our paramedics are protected while they respond to emergencies," said Mashaba.
"I would like to express my appreciation to the MMC for Safety, Cllr Micheal Sun, for the efforts made in procuring these ambulances and helping us bring better emergency services to residents."
The mayor urged residents to remember the following steps when calling an ambulance:
- Contact the control centre on 10177 or 112 (when using a cellphone);
- Try to remain calm;
- Identify the emergency;
- Give your name and contact details;
- State the nature of the incident;
- Indicate the number of people involved;
- Give the physical address and nearest corner or landmark; and,
- Remain on the line as long as possible to answer the operator’s questions.
"I believe that through the introduction of these new ambulances, we will continue to bring Diphetogo to the people of Johannesburg," said Mashaba.
African News Agency (ANA)