GroundUp writes that scores of Eastern Cape ambulance drivers and their assistants laid down tools on Friday, staging sit-ins at their places of work. The affected regions are the Nelson Mandela Bay, Amathole and Buffalo City municipalities. Ambulances remained parked the whole day outside the emergency medical services’ provincial headquarters at Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth. At issue is that the drivers have not received backpay owed to them.
They said they would only start working after the money had been paid, adding they would keep turning up at work but not perform their duties. Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Siyanda Manana said it had been assured by the provincial treasurer that payment would be made on January 13. Manana added, in the meanwhile, the department had enlisted the services of private ambulances to deal with critical cases only. “We also encourage our patients to phone our call centre number for assistance which is 0800 032 364.”
by Joseph Chirume