The Eastern Cape Health Department has put a hold on its controversial project in which it spent R10 million to order 100 scooters with mobile sidecar clinics intended for use in the province’s rural areas.

The move comes as evidence emerges of a hastily organised launch of the scooters which Health Minister Zweli Mkhize attended last month.

The department says given the public outrage, it has delayed issuing an order for the scooters but still has a contract with the King Williams company that will be manufacturing them.

In the video below DA member of parliament Siviwe Gwarube says Mkhize is contradicting himself:

The Eastern Cape Health Department’s head Dr Thobile Mbengashe has sought to clarify the confusion surrounding the controversial procurement.

“What is being clarified now is that we are not buying scooters to transport patients. We are buying them to transport community health workers. What we are really demonstrating is that it can be possible to put those kinds of side parts to put patients and what we saw there was actually that can be done. It’s not what we bought [them for…] but what the scooters are actually capable of doing,” explains Mbengashe.

In the video below, Dr Thobile Mbengashe explains that the scooters were not bought to transport patients:

During the launch of the project, Minister Mkhize congratulated the Eastern Cape Department of Health for the procurement of 100 motorbikes to transport patients to clinics.

Mkhize expressed hope that other provinces could follow the example and make use of these scooters.

He added that they appear to be a cheaper and a more efficient form of patient transport.

The Minister also noted that the department has added 40 new ambulances to its fleet.

In this video below, Minister Mkhize launches the motorbike service in the Eastern Cape: