ANC wants answers over privatising Tshwane emergency medical services
Share this article:
Pretoria - The ANC in Tshwane has challenged the DA to disclose the identity of those behind an alleged move to privatise emergency medical services in the municipality.
This call was made a day after the Gauteng Health Department accused the DA-led Tshwane administration of being in the pocket of an unspecified service provider to take over emergency services.
The two parties have this week been at each other's throats, with the municipality accusing the department of failing to honour an agreement to extend its emergency services operating licence after it expired on January 21.
On the other hand, the department said it took over the services from municipalities after the provincial executive council took a decision in 2009 to provincialise emergency medical operations.
In Tshwane, according to the department, the process was completed in July 2018. The move subsequently led to at least 78 vehicles being grounded after the City's operating licence could not be renewed.
Health Department spokesperson Kwara Kekana questioned “the motives behind the promotion of a private entity” by Tshwane, saying the option would put the lives of the poor at risk due to the cost of private ambulance services.
ANC regional chairperson Dr Kgoši Maepa expressed concern that the City was promoting and recommending a private entity to communities, which "effectively said that the poor have no choice but to call private ambulances and carry their own cost".
"We are curious to know exactly who in the DA has direct financial interest and possible benefit in the particular private entity that is being paraded by the DA led municipality in the City of Tshwane," Maepa said.
He said the ANC caucus was supportive of the position of the ANC-led Gauteng Department of Health on the provincialisation of emergency medical services.
He said the provincialisation process was concluded in order to provide "equitable emergency medical services, eliminate duplication of services by government, and to increase efficiencies".
"The DA, which lacks aptitude and fitness to govern the City of Tshwane, has elected to put people’s lives at risk with falsehood claims that there is no more EMS service in the City of Tshwane, creating unnecessary panic and confusion among residents," Maepa said.
DA provincial health spokesperson and MPL Jack Bloom wanted Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi to speedily resolve the issue, saying he was concerned that the department’s delay in issuing a licence had forced the metro to stop ambulance services.