Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the Eastern Cape did not consult his department on the specifications of the medical scooters that the province has procured.

He was speaking in a written reply to a Parliamentary question by Democratic Alliance MP Siviwe Gwarube who wanted to know if the scooters were suitable for transporting patients and whether the national Health Department was consulted before the procurement.

Mkhize says the scooters, do not meet the criteria for transporting patients. He says the province has been informed that none of the scooters should be used as ambulances.

The province awarded a King Williamstown company the R10-million tender to procure the 100 scooters.

Last month, Mkhize and Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba unveiled six scooters fitted with a bed on one side, an overhead gazebo with a first aid kit and oxygen on board.

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

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Health Department recently defended its decision to launch mobile clinics and scooters. This after it received a backlash on social media where people questioned the appropriateness of these bikes to transport patients.

The department said they are off-road bikes – not part of its emergency fleet and will not ferry critical or emergency cases to hospitals.

It said that they will be utilised for health education and awareness campaigns in communities during outreach programmes.

This project was already in the pipeline before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The department employed 150 additional staff to operate the bikes as part of its primary health care outreach programme.

In the video below, Minister Mkhize launches the EMS motorbike programme in the Eastern Cape: 

Below is South Africa’s COVID-19 statistics