DA calls for answers after elderly Estcourt woman dies without EMRS help

Issued by Edwin Baptie, MPL and Maliyakhe Shelembe, MP –
14 May 2024 in Press Statements

The DA calls KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane to urgently provide answers after Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) refused to attend to a call-out involving an elderly Estcourt woman.

According to neighbours, they contacted EMRS in Estcourt for an ambulance at around 6am after the woman – who lived in Emabhalonini – was found struggling to breathe.

They were shocked to be told that the service is not available to Emabhalonini residents due to an incident two years ago, during which a paramedic was shot. The incident was the result of an altercation between third parties and was not directed at the paramedic.

Despite the seriousness of the elderly woman’s condition – along with the fact that no form of violence was associated with the call-out – EMRS still refused to attend without a police escort. The local SAPS was then contacted but they were allegedly attending to a traffic accident and claimed that they could not assist.

It was only due to a neighbour’s insistence that EMRS and SAPS eventually arrived some three hours later, by which time it was too late.

The DA extends its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased woman. Had EMRS and SAPS responded immediately she may have survived.

This is not how government should render essential services, particularly when it comes to ailing citizens. That nobody arrived to help, for hours on end, is an indictment against this ANC-run government which claims to care.

The DA expects MEC Simelane to ensure that EMRS services are immediately restored to the people of Emabhalonini. We also expect KZN’s MEC for Community Safety and Liaison to take up this matter with Estcourt SAPS.

The people of our province will have the opportunity to rescue KZN and remove an incompetent ANC government when they go to the polls on 29 May.