DA to lay criminal charges against NWest Health – Gavin Edwards

MP says dept says case is for non-compliance at the JB Marks Ambulance Base

DA to lay criminal charges against NW Health for non-compliance at the JB Marks Ambulance Base

9 June 2021

Note to Editors: Find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by DA North West Spokesperson on Health, Gavin Edwards.  

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West will lay criminal charges against the Department of Health’s Administrator, Jeanette Hunter, MEC, Madoda Sambatha, Head of Department, Obakeng Mogale and Station Manager, Solly Klaassen, for failing to ensure that the JB Marks Ambulance Base in Potchefstroom is in possession of the required operating permits for ambulances.

During an oversight inspection by the Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee of Health, it was found that not a single ambulance or rapid response vehicle at this Base, has been issued with an operating permit.

This is in contravention with the National Health Act, 61 of 2003, which stipulate that "a person, organisation or organ of state may not, without the requisite licence, establish, control, change ownership, rename, temporarily or permanently relocate or alter the service of an Emergency Service".

The Ambulance Base failed the inspection a year ago, and, to date has not made any attempts to mitigate the situation.

Hazardous waste is not correctly being disposed of (see picture here), which means that the Ambulance Base is also not complying to the National Environmental Management of Waste Act.

The norms and standards of decanting oxygen in an isolated area was also disregarded, as it was found decanted in the filing room (see picture here). Oxygen is highly flammable, which in the event of a fire, could destroy all files and threaten the lives of employees.

The DA has, on several occasions, raised its concerns regarding the general non-compliance to ambulance and EMS regulations in the North West with MEC Sambatha and Administrator, Jeanette Hunter, but is yet to see them moved to action.

The failure of the Department to ensure legal compliance is regarded as a criminal offence and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding R500 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 years.

The DA will monitor the situation to ensure that the people of North West receive the medical services they are constitutionally entitled to.

Issued by Gavin Edwards, DA North West Spokesperson on Health, 9 June 2021