An ambulance which was stolen in Bulawayo on November 7 and later found abandoned in the city centre belonged to the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), it has emerged.
strong>BY SILAS NKALA
On November 10, it was reported that an ambulance had been stolen from the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and found in the city centre after Information ministry permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana tweeted that it belonged to UBH.
However, the UBH acting chief executive officer Narcisious Dzwanga disowned the ambulance saying their fleet was intact.
Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer Solwayo Ngwenya also said the ambulance was not theirs.
It has, however, emerged in the latest council minutes that the ambulance in question belonged to BCC and it was stolen after the driver left the keys on the ignition.
The minutes state that Councillor Rodney Jele, during the full council meeting, sought clarity on the BCC ambulance that had been stolen.
In response to Jele’s query, chamber secretary Sikhangele Zhou said the ambulance driver had left keys on the ignition while assisting the ambulance technician with a patient for admission at the hospital.
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“When the ambulance was reported stolen, an alarm was raised quickly to the tracking system and the ambulance was spotted parked in 6th Avenue, only to find out that a mentally challenged person had taken the ambulance,” read the minutes.
“With the help of security personnel, police and members of the public, the ambulance was taken from the mentally challenged person.
“The ambulance driver will be dealt with as per standard procedure and conditions of service.”
Jele further asked for clarity on ambulance fees, while Councillor Frank Javangwe wanted to know whether residents suffering from diarrhoea were exempted from paying ambulance fees. Zhou said council would continue to exempt ambulance fees to residents affected by the diarrhoea outbreak, until it is contained.
Councillor Joyce Ndlovu asked that in respect of the diarrhoea outbreak at Ngozi Mine illegal settlement, was council exempting the settlers from paying ambulance fees?
Zhou responded that since the illegal settlers were recorded as residents with no fixed aboard, they were offered ambulance services and exempted from paying ambulance fees. “The ambulance fees are now $241,01,” reads the minutes.