Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, weighs in on ambulance services takeover
The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is seeking a meeting with Gauteng Health MEC, Bandile Masuku, over the Department of Health's intention to take over the City's ambulance services on 1 September 2019. "For the past 13 years, the City of Johannesburg has run the ambulance services on behalf of the Gauteng Provincial Government. This drastic decision appears to have been taken by the political leadership in the Province without any proper consultation or planning with the City of Johannesburg. Despite the City’s numerous requests, over months, to receive the Province’s business, implementation and transitional plans to take over this vital function, the City has to date received no response," Mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement on Sunday, 21 July 2019.
CoJ is of the view that should this plan be implemented, it will place the lives of residents at risk. "The Province’s running of its Health Department has been nothing short of a disaster. Many hospitals in Gauteng are essentially dysfunctional due to poor management and planning.
"The pain experienced by hundreds of families due to the senseless loss of their loved ones following the Life Esidimeni tragedy is also still fresh in our minds and yet now, the Provincial Executive wants to take over the running of ambulances from the City of Johannesburg in less than two months without even providing the City with its business plan," Mashaba said.
Mashaba has called this "political point scoring by the ANC" in the province an "irrational decision-making process".
"Just last month, I announced that the City had taken delivery of 42 new ambulances as part of our continued efforts to capacitate our EMS department. As the saying goes, "If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it," he added.
The MMC of Public Safety, Michael Sun wrote to the Department last week to secure a meeting. The City claims that multiple attempts to engage with the Provincial government on this issue have not been fruitful.
Gauteng MEC's Spokesperson Kwara Kekana said that the matter is currently being discussed at EXCO level. "This matter is an EXCO decision and there are discussions at that level taking place on the issue. We find it regrettable that Mayor Mashaba has elected this form of engagement," Kekana concluded.