Two doctors who run a small-scale ambulance service in Louis Trichardt (Makhado) in Limpopo with no aeromedical experience, landed a lucrative air ambulance contract with the provincial health department which has already paid out close to R3-million in four months. By Anso Thom and Marcus Low
Spotlight returned to the North West recently to take the temperature of the health system. Sadly, the picture is not pretty. The health system has faced massive protests at health facilities, rampant corruption, staff shortages, drug supply challenges and a myriad other problems. One mother shared her story of loss.
A company with a track record of supplying inferior medical equipment to the Free State health department recently sent five mobile x-ray units to Pelonomi Hospital, but it had to be returned after a key part of the machines was too short, making it unusable and increasing the risk of radiation exposure for patients. By Anso Thom and Marcus Low
The Free State Department of Health has advertised a large new three-year private ambulance tender that flies in the face of comments by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi that it is not national policy to outsource ambulance services. Spotlight also has evidence that a Municipal government employee attended the pre-bid briefing on behalf of controversial businessman Thapelo Buthelezi. By Marcus Low and Anso Thom
Spotlight has written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa reminding him of the widespread corruption in the health system and showing where he can look to save some money for his stimulus package.
In a remarkable judgment asserting the rule of law, the North Gauteng High Court has ordered the Limpopo Department of Health to obey court orders and reinstate an aeromedical service provided by Red Cross Air Mercy Service (AMS). The order will force the province to cancel its contract with the controversial Buthelezi HEMS, something it has been reluctant to do despite an earlier order from the Supreme Court of Appeal unequivocally stating that Red Cross AMS, and not Buthelezi HEMS, should provide the service as per an awarded tender.
Brand new theatre beds are broken within months and sub-standard anaesthesia machines stand unused following the award of a multi-million Rand medical equipment tender by the Free State Department of Health to a company called Mediquip SA Hub of which two co-directors are George Sebulela, of the Black Business Council and one of the latest additions to the Eskom board, and Tefetso Bernard Phitsane, a senior ANC politician in the Free State and close ally of Ace Magashule.
A Gauteng-based ambulance operator, Buthelezi EMS, that is currently the subject of both Hawks and Treasury investigations has scored road and air ambulance contracts in the so-called Premier league provinces amounting to over a Billion Rand since 2013 and they are frontrunners to secure a lucrative new three year tender for Emergency Medical Services in the Free State.
Doctors and nurses in the Free State and North West have accused Buthelezi EMS, the private company contracted to run provincial ambulance services, of operating like a minibus taxi and “drop and go” service.