Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi has acknowledged there’s a serious challenge of ambulances arriving late to pick up the sick. In some cases, communities have attacked paramedics.
However, Mokgethi has blamed this on what she terms the referral system.
She says they’ve now agreed with the private sector that there will be one central point to dispatch ambulances where needed.
In 2019, the Gauteng government assumed management of emergency medical services, previously the prerogative of municipalities.
Mokgethi says due to the pressures on the service brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, they will issue municipalities with temporary licences to operate ambulances.
“Ambulances have been provincialized. So now we have also issued a temporary licence because of the COVID-19, to the City of Tshwane municipality. And the other municipality that has applied is the City of Ekurhuleni. So, combined they will be able to respond to our communities on time,” says MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi.
VIDEO: Gauteng residents call for intervention over ambulance crisis:
With Gauteng leading the surge in the nation’s third wave of infections and hospital admissions increasing, ambulance crews are overburdened.
The DA’s Jack Bloom said Gauteng Health Department has botched its takeover of all ambulance services in the province.
Before the provincial takeover, Johannesburg could field more than 90 ambulances, but according to Bloom, only less than 40 ambulances are operating across the metro identified as a COVID-19 hotspot.