EFF demands action be taken against ‘drunk’ health official

A screen shot from the video showing the Eastern Cape health department branding on a car with a driver who witnesses claim had ‘blacked out’.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Eastern Cape wants stringent action to be taken against a provincial health department official who allegedly blacked out behind the wheel of a state vehicle in Mdantsane over the weekend.

Health department spokesperson Siyanda Manana said the department was aware of the incident and he confirmed the official was not authorised to drive the vehicle.

“The driver was arrested by police,” Manana said.

“There is an ongoing investigation by the department to determine all facts surrounding this saga.

“We are making arrangements to take the car back to the health facility and the driver has been taken to a health facility by police for further investigation.”

He said the department would not condone the abuse of state resources that were meant to help the people.

“Employees that bring the department into disrepute will face internal disciplinary processes.”

According to the EFF spokesperson in the Buffalo City region, Siya Rumbu, the

vehicle was spotted by one of their councillors, Simphiwe Libala.

Apparently Libala saw the vehicle parked at a stop sign and blocking traffic.

“Libala, together with a few community members, tried to open the car door as the driver appeared to have blacked out,” Rumbu said. “They knocked on the windows until he eventually lifted his head and opened the car.”

The incident was captured on a 58-second video clip which has been circulating on social media platforms.

In the video, the white vehicle is seen parked incorrectly on the road, while a man in a black jacket and jeans is seen unable to drive the car or to even talk properly.

A voice is heard offering to drive the car to a place of safety, saying: “We can drive it.”

Another voice is heard saying “umaspala unxilile”, meaning the municipal [official] is drunk.

The last man to speak in the video asks the official to get out of the vehicle and the official responds by asking him: “Do you love me, are you trying to cause a scene?”

This is the second health official to be arrested for driving under the influence this year.

In August, health MEC Sindiswa Gomba’s personal messenger, Ayanda Matinise, was granted R5,000 bail by the King William’s Town magistrate’s court after being charged with breaching the national lockdown regulations by the unauthorised use of a state vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol, and attempted bribery of police.

He allegedly tried to bribe the officers with R10,000 after a high-speed chase in King William’s Town.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci confirmed the case saying a 37-year-old man was arrested by police in Mdantsane. “He is due to appear in Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court facing drunken driving charges as soon as his blood results are back from the laboratory,” said Soci.

By Mfundo Piliso

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