The Tshwane emergency services division may have to reduce staff posts and cut unfilled vacancies due to provincial grant curtailment, reports Centurion Rekord.
DA spokesperson on health in Gauteng Jack Bloom said the grant cuts for the city’s emergency medical services were extremely concerning.
“This reduction for emergency services will cripple the city in providing speedy ambulances for critical cases. I urge the Gauteng health department to reconsider this huge cut, which could lead to lives being lost because of a reduced ambulance service,” Bloom said.
Tshwane metro lodged an appeal over the unilateral reduction of the city’s emergency medical services and human settlements development grants.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga said the cut by the Gauteng provincial government posed a serious risk for the municipality to provide basic services to which residents were entitled.
“This has real implications for our residents, as the ability to provide a fully responsive emergency medical and ambulance service in the city is made possible through the emergency medical services grant as part of an agency agreement with the Gauteng province,” he said.
Msimanga said the withdrawal of the grant funding to the city meant residents would get a reduced emergency medical service.
“It equally puts further strain on the already high demand for housing and services needed by the poorest of our residents.”
He said the EMS grant had been reduced from R102 million to R41 million, while the human settlements grant was reduced from R78 million to R23 million.
“After an enquiry to the Gauteng health department regarding the outstanding payment amounting to 60% of the total budget, we were informed that due to ‘provincialisation’ Tshwane emergency service has to now submit a claim.”
“It is clear that promoting the health and wellness of residents is not a central priority for the Gauteng health department,” Msimanga said.
“The conduct of the Gauteng health department will, without a doubt, hamper our efforts to respond to our communities’ health and emergency needs in the future and we cannot allow this to happen.”
Msimanga said the reductions were robbing society of decent services and housing opportunities.
“This effectively means that about 300 families will not be afforded decent housing in the Fort West area.
“It is our view that there is no substantive reason to withhold the grant payments as confirmed in the Government Gazette. We trust that the national treasury will diligently engage the Gauteng provincial government in the interest of providing decent services to our people.”
Tshwane said it would approach the national treasury to intervene in the Gauteng provincial government’s failure to pay the city of Tshwane its original allocated grant funding for emergency medical services and housing.
Mayoral spokesperson Sam Mgobozi said the intervention by the city was being finalised.