Finally – finally some acknowledgment in the Daily Dispatch that the ambulance drivers’ strike in the Eastern Cape has unnecessarily been responsible for the deaths of 6 people, including 3 young children. The figure includes at least one child due to travel to Cape Town’s Red Cross Children’s Hospital for surgery to fix a congenital heart defect.
But the report – unsurprisingly – raises more questions than answers.
We still don’t know how many people in total and including children have been killed as a result of this strike. I use the active verb because those implicated in ambulance drivers walking off the job are also implicated in these deaths.
The MEC for health in the province, Helen Sauls-August states that “we take this matter very seriously and we want to gather all the facts around this issue… we sympathize and extend our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones”.
How long does it take to contact the responsible official in the various facilities to obtain the facts about these deaths?
I’m sorry MEC, but your condolences – in the absence of urgent attention to finding out and presenting the facts – is unbelievably offensive. It’s been three weeks and there is no evidence that you have done much. Certainly, you have not presented even a smidgen of factual evidence of anything.
Politicians and health officials who fail to disclose the essential information surrounding these incidents are just as implicated in the structural failures that led to these deaths.
And who knows how many other deaths?
I repost here the appeal I made to the Eastern Cape Government on this issue. Unsurprisingly, I have not had a response from any of the recipients. I’m not concerned about the discourtesy.
I’m amazed that our provincial government can be so blazé about its failures – and, in this case, about the deaths of young children – that a claim (which might have been false) that the deaths are due to the ambulance drivers’ strike, has not been factually discounted. The only inference must be that the charge is absolutely true.