ECape cancels NAC air ambulance
The Eastern Cape health department has cancelled its multi-million rand air ambulance contract following a series of irregularities. Spokesman Sizwe Kupelo says the department is expecting a refund of R11 million from the contractor, National Airways Corporation (NAC).
Kupelo says the cancellation followed an investigation by the department and forensic accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, the South African Press Association reports. The probe found that the department had been grossly overcharged for services rendered by the company. NAC had for example claimed a six hour flight from East London to Mthatha, which was triple the driving time, and six hours back.
The province’s head of emergency medical services, Shanks Maharaj resigned in February following revelations of a R95 000 jaunt by officials to a Confederations Cup match in Bloemfontein in an air ambulance at the department’s expense, SAPA added. Kupelo said the department would now hire air ambulance services on a month-to-month basis, and only as the need arose. It had identified four companies that it would use in rotation.