Ambulances unused for months

Residents of Ha-Mashu still wait for the ambulance to be delivered to their local clinic.
Unused ambulances
Unused ambulances

Ten brand new ambulances donated to the Kuruman Hospital by the John Taolo Gaetsewe Developmental Trust  last December are still standing unused at the back of the hospital.

This is apparently because personnel still have to be trained and the vehicles need to be registered in the Department of Health’s name.

“This is not making sense because daily people need transport to Kimberly Hospital and also urgent casualties in our areas need ambulances,” said local resident Vincent Ward.

According to the Department of Health’s provincial media officer, Lulu Mxekezo, the  vehicles are special because they are for obstetric services and this is why they need specially trained staff.

Departmental official Modiri Gabaatlhole had asked the Trust to purchase ambuances  in order to improve maternal and infant mortality in the district.

The Trust is funded by the Sishen Iron Ore Mine, known as Kumba, that is in the district.

According to Gabaatlhole’s proposal, the ambulances were in support of the 5th Millenium Development Goal to improve maternal and child health, and in line with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s declaration that every hospital should have an obstetric ambulance.

About R11, 3 million spent on the ambulances, including training for the emergency medical staff to operate ambulances

“About 23 people are currently at the training in  Cape Town , at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and only five have passed while other are not doing well. The documents have all been sent to traffic department for vehicle licensing  and only five ambulances will be licensed out of ten,  “said Gabaatlhole.

“It is so sad for us as patients going to Kimberley to see specialists because ambulances shortage is a challenge.  We sometimes miss our appointment or arrive late and come back unattended from Kimberly,” said Kehilwe Khoza , a cancer patient.


  • Mpho Lekgetho

    Mpho Lekgetho is our citizen journalists based in Kuruman at the John Taolo Gaetsewe District in the Northern Cape. She has a qualification in Industrial Psychology from Unisa. Mpho is a former radio presenter at Kurara community radio station. She is currently working as a data collector for HSRC and is also a chairperson of the JTG Civil Society Forum and co-chairs District Aids Council.

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One comment

  1. I’m very dissappointed in the way the money that would have benefitted the community to be misused in such manner . Lot of patients are unable to go home when discharged from Pelonomi Hospital. Why the ambulances were not used for another purpose rather than standing doing nothing because there is a possibility that they will cause money again to ensure that they are in good condition especially after being unused for such a ling time. What I fail to understand why the paramedics were not trained before, because it is obvious that the person who requested them knew why they must be bought. The question is has he met the Mellinium objective he mentioned? It is obvious he did not met them. He should have had a second plan for the usage of the ambulances because even though they could not be used for reduction of maternal death they could have saved other peoples” lives.

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