MEC takes chopper needed for teen

2012-11-11 14:32

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo apparently commandeered an air ambulance, delaying an injured teenager's arrival at a Durban hospital, the Sunday Tribune reports.

Asheen Maharaj, 15, was left brain dead following a car crash last Saturday near Pinetown. His parents, Ashnee and Ashwin, and sister Asheena, were killed.

"The boy was in a bad way and we had done everything we could for him," the paramedic who treated him, and did not want to be named, was quoted as saying.

"Taking him immediately to Inkosi Albert Luthuli [hospital in Durban] would have helped his chances of survival.

"The road trip takes more than half an hour. We wanted to get him there as soon as possible, so we called for the helicopter. We were told it was not available because the health MEC was using it, but they would send the air ambulance from Richards Bay."

Maharaj was taken to hospital by road because the Richards Bay helicopter would have taken an hour to arrive.

Dhlomo told the newspaper he was a medical doctor and could use the helicopter as he saw fit. He would not say what he had used it for.

KwaZulu-Natal health department spokesperson Desmond Motha told the Sunday Tribune: "We need to indicate that even the one helicopter that had the MEC on board was readily available to assist should it have been summoned, and the MEC would have been at hand to treat the patient."

  • raymond.buis.3 - 2012-11-11 14:40

    What's more important than a child's life. Apparently a mec's need to use a air ambulance for something other than what it was purchased for. Sick f***. Then he still has the nerve to try and justify its usage.

      Shaun - 2012-11-11 14:50


      steve.dupreez - 2012-11-11 15:48

      "Dhlomo told the newspaper he was a medical doctor and could use the helicopter as he saw fit". Not so Dhlomo: a) you are a MEC and not a practicing doctor b) The ambulance is for medical emergencies and NOT joyrides for you and your family c) Use as you see fit?? Stupid stupid stupid!!!

      phillie.jansenvanvuuren - 2012-11-11 16:56

      @Sgentshentshe Don't think you realize what this blog page is for? It is for commenting on the article as printed and not for starting an investigation on who said what and where. That is the job of the reporter.

      riette.nothling - 2012-11-11 17:07

      @ Sgentshentshe, there is no two sides of the story, medical equipment, vehicles and other support items are there for the use in medical emergencies and not for MEC's to use "as they see fit" which probably means he used it for a stupid thing. It's because of their squandering that the healthcare system is so dysfunctional, and then people like you tells people to wait for both sides of the story! Unless he was an acting medic attending a crisis, he had no business using the chopper.

      raymond.buis.3 - 2012-11-11 17:12

      The point is why is he using a helicopter that is supposed to be used as an air ambulance for something other than its purpose. Was he out saving someone's life I think not. He took an oath as a doctor to never do harm, guess what he did harm.

      nico.vandermerwe.54 - 2012-11-11 17:55

      And I guess its too close to Mangaung for any politician to stand up and tell this MEC he is a douchebag, never mind firing or disciplining him. Zuma doesn't have the balls, either, only the spear...

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-11 18:07

      I see an unfolding scandal. If he were using it for legitimate purposes they would have immediately issued a statement. Now he has been left looking for a story to justify his abuse of the helicopter. Watch this space for lies, lies and more lies...

      sheda.habib - 2012-11-11 20:23

      @Sgentshentshe - what do you mean by "the MEC reports to no one". The MEC is a civil SERVANT who reports to the electorate and taxpayer you dumb f&%K..... it is fools like you that allow this and Nkandla to happen

      jacques.devilliers.16 - 2012-11-11 21:28

      Hope u go to jail you mother effer!!

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-11-11 22:03

      It is plain and simple......we have his name .....we know who he is..... now let us snub him...... everybody should just turn away from him when we see him... boycott every thing he does......and don't do business with him.... he is a disgrace to his profession.... he was probably out on a fishing trip or something with the helicopter.

      heathway.master - 2012-11-11 22:46

      Sorry Sgentshentshe, I have to agree with the comments posted here. The MEC has no rights to commandeer an air ambulance for his own private needs under any circumstances, except a dire medical emergency he is personally attending to. These are the irrefutable facts of the matter. Unless he can prove it was to attend to a medical emergency, the medical council should see fit to remove him from the medical practitioner’s role. Such a man is a total disgrace to the medical profession, and should not be allowed to continue practising as a doctor.

      alf.pop - 2012-11-12 08:25

      He should not even be sentenced in court, but locked up immediately together with other thugs, and be on the list of awaiting trial prisoners for the next 10 years. If he survives it, a court date may be set. Zipper, these are the leaders in your province! What are you going to do about this? This story needs to be spread on the web worldwide. Another nail in the coffin of South Africa's reputation, because of some government appointed idiot who thinks he is above the law. like the president.

      handy.andy.3990 - 2012-11-12 11:49

      @Sgentshentshe - thats exactly the problem with our government, they think they do not report to the taxpayer. but they do. And one day people will wake up and realize the money the ANC is wasting and stealing, was there in the first place for us, the citizens of this country. Start thinking like a tax paying citizen, and not a member of a tribe.

      Chris - 2012-11-12 13:13


  • yolanda.bezuidenhoutfraser - 2012-11-11 14:40

    What did we expect? The MEC needed hell with patients. Its his right as MEC to use the air ambulance as transport. The family of that boy should smoke the MEC for putting his trips above that of aptients. Such blantant disregard for the purpuse of an air ambulance. Sue his ass.

      delish7564 - 2012-11-11 15:26

      Unfortunately this poor boy lost his parents and sister and nothing anyone does or says will bring them back :(. This man should be ashamed, but no doubt he wont, his ego seems to be bigger than anyone or anything else. Shame on him :(

  • sagin.verity - 2012-11-11 14:41

    What a well run country? Proudly south african?

      hein.huyser - 2012-11-11 16:06

      Yep, truly ' the african way', aka JZ

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-11-11 14:42

    What a CHOP-per!!!

      raymond.buis.3 - 2012-11-11 14:43

      Nice pun. But really dude.

  • annelise.vanderschyff - 2012-11-11 14:42

    Disgusting!!!!!why am I not surprised

  • Don.Tandy - 2012-11-11 14:43

    Anarchy. Nepotism. Corruption - business as usual on the gravy train.

      art5SA - 2012-11-12 16:04

      GRAVY CHOPPER? Seems like it...

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-11-11 14:43

    Another despicable act from the ANC. This bunch will answer one day. Hopefully soon.

  • Samuel - 2012-11-11 14:45

    What is going on!!!!!!!!!!!

      boltonbarry - 2012-11-11 15:08

      Ill tlel you wahts going on. IS that these people are being voted in year after year

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-11-11 14:51

    Probably used it to take his family on holiday... he learned his tatics from his boss zuma... cANCer.

  • kenneth.d.brookes - 2012-11-11 14:51

    Well it is becoming the new way so that we dont moan about the blue light convey this is the red light helicopter.

  • brian.ocinneide.7 - 2012-11-11 14:52

    These clowns think that they own the country and will take anything.This guy is a disgrace not only to the political but also the medical profession.

  • storm.trooper.125 - 2012-11-11 14:54

    AIR AMBULANCE SAYS IT ALL...its a freaking ambulance..not a transport helicopter for VIP'S...MEC tried to avoid traffic,so decided to use a ambulance..

  • braamc - 2012-11-11 14:56

    They think they are so f important. They nothing but f criminals. Charge this MEC with murder.

      hein.huyser - 2012-11-11 20:34

      @tiny, they the "cleptocracy".

      chris.greenwood.31542 - 2012-11-11 20:44

      Come on we need a board and marker pens to explain this to you. The 'they' braamc is referring too is government...corrupt, lying, stealing government. Let me ask you this, if it was your son, daughter, mother, sister who needed emergency medical care and needed to be air lifted to hospital, only to find out that MEC is using the helicopter as "he sees fit", how would you react?

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-11-12 17:45

      chris.greenwood.31542... seems your question was a little too difficult for mrtinyiko.matsambu. Or maybe common sense just slapped his breath away.

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-11-11 14:58

    We the people demand a full investigation as to what MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo was using the helicopter for at the time!!! This is balderdash, the arrogance of ministers is beyond acceptance!

      thabang.bonang.7 - 2012-11-12 09:43

      Investigations relating to KZN are at an increase. Zumaville, Nkandla road, President's palace, Zwelithini's spending, political killings, chopper, etc.

  • raymond.lloyd.73 - 2012-11-11 15:06

    " He would not say what he used it for ..." Why his arrogance bigger than an injured persons needs ?

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-11-12 17:39

      he was visiting his 18 year old nyatsi.

  • debduplessis - 2012-11-11 15:06

    MEC should be charged with alot more than attempted murder + all costs of child now suffering brain damage.......... AH!

  • dave.ducker.3 - 2012-11-11 15:08

    Even as a medic in the army, Ambo's were for medical only !! a medic could nab another Chopper or what ever as long as it did not endanger anyone else's life, if the above is true the MEC should be in deep dwang !

      cathy.dejongh.5 - 2012-11-12 17:24

      It seems that deep dwang does not apply to government employees whatever it is they get up to.

      deepchund.ramchurren - 2012-11-12 20:07

      Nothing will happen Dave. Even if he is charged, the case will drag on then disappear into thin air. if Zuma can get away,others in the ruling party can do the same.

  • fourhundredkg.bobbejaan - 2012-11-11 15:11

    Why the photo of a Mexican ambulance?

      Doorboot - 2012-11-11 15:54

      Because the MEC took the other ambulance :)

      themba.monare.5 - 2012-11-11 20:06

      Lol!!! Doorboot.

  • Leah - 2012-11-11 15:13

    Arrogance!!! I cannot believe it.

  • ross.urquhart1 - 2012-11-11 15:13

    We should demand to know what the helicopter was used for, and I think it his RESPONSIBILITY to tell the public .... medical or private use ... ???

  • joe.whiteman.9 - 2012-11-11 15:14

    @Mshini You are a Black Box !!!!!!!

  • Cape - 2012-11-11 15:17

    We stand by and do nothing; what are we afraid of, why not protest? These are serious questions.

  • mike.clery - 2012-11-11 15:21

    "Dhlomo told the newspaper he was a medical doctor and could use the helicopter as he saw fit. He would not say what he had used it for." That says it all.

  • sello.r.molefe - 2012-11-11 15:22

    He should be charged with slaughter what an absolute bafoon.. Heartless serial wanker...

  • gordon.marshall.925 - 2012-11-11 15:26

    Typical mentality of the scum and vermin who run this country. Their attitude is "I am entitled, therefore I take" as if it their personal property!!!! "As I see fit" is all that matters to these morons. Poor boy deserves better.

  • johnny.august.31 - 2012-11-11 15:28

    MEC B resposible N tell the Nation what were U doing with that Chopper cos Here we Talk of a young life that was lost ,come on B responsible ,I'm a paramedic myself ,If it was an ambulance involved here U will b shouting N telling the whole of SA how heads R going to Roll ,Let heads start to Roll now

  • vera.platt - 2012-11-11 15:41

    And we are all in shock why? This is South Africa, get used to it.

      Teuneman - 2012-11-11 15:55

      Its because we keep our mouths shut that things like this happen.

      vera.platt - 2012-11-11 15:58

      You hit the nail on the head. Maybe the sarcasm I have used will get more ppl to think and maybe one day those fed up will actually start a real revolution for freedom that doesn't involve the backing of a racial past but the difference between actions right and wrong.

      Teuneman - 2012-11-11 16:01

      Its because we keep our mouths shut that things like this happen.

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-11 15:41

    Show the logs, the flight plan and the instructions.Get it through the information act,get his diary for the day and prosecute/sue the pants off him in his personal capacity,it can be done

  • timothy.crowley.96 - 2012-11-11 15:46

    Emergency helicopters should only be used for medical emergencies, absolutely no other circumstances whatsoever!!!

  • anakin.skyvader.9 - 2012-11-11 15:50

    "We were told it was not available because the health MEC was using it" - it's so damn typical of how self-serving the egos get. What makes one's blood boil is how after the fact we may not be told what the hell the MEC was using the helicopter in the first place and how Dhlomo literally told everyone to "f**k" off by saying "he was a medical doctor and could use the helicopter as he saw fit". That last part is what just sends me over the cliff with anger because it's so typical of the type of answer one gets when an MEC is confronted on an issue: one can never get a honest answer or apology from them. When someone's life is at stake the attitude must be "let's do EVERYTHING WE CAN" instead of "NO IM BUSY USING IT". Why couldn't the helicopter be rerouted to the scene to pick up the injured boy with the all-important MEC in it?? PLEASE EXPLAIN, because next time it could just be you or me in a similar situation - it's an UNACCEPTABLE attitude.

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2012-11-11 15:52

    I don't understand this. U mean 2 say between durban

  • mandy.robinson.5074 - 2012-11-11 15:53

    He told the reporter that he was a doctor and would use the helicopter as he saw as a DOCTOR he didn't think it necessary to redivert the helicopter to help a critically injured boy who had just lost his entire family in an accident??? It is called the HIPPOCRATIC OATH, NOT THE HYPOCRITIC OATH! You, dear sir, are a disgrace to the medical profession, and a disgrace to position of Health MEC. Must be a SPINdoctor

  • derk.woldendorp - 2012-11-11 16:00


  • renier.lubbe.7 - 2012-11-11 16:01

    As a doctor he should have allowed the chopper to be diverted! Nothing could have been more important that the need of this child. As a doctor he should now be held responsible.

  • hein.huyser - 2012-11-11 16:04

    MEC for health? Another reason the anc must not be given another chance, using state resources for their personal gain and luxury.

  • zolisa.dlokovu - 2012-11-11 16:09


  • brendon.nel.7 - 2012-11-11 16:14

    Mustve been late for his date Mr Sanders.

  • Sgentshentshe - 2012-11-11 16:21

    Wrong is wrong, Im also black, if the MEC is Wrong he is wrong, however, it is very immature to judge before u hear both sides of the story. all you have right now is the story you got from the newspaper/online or wherever, it is the version of the complainant, you havent heard his side, yet you are all up in arms already. Every place has got a protocol, same applies in the health Department, the MEC does not report to anyone, if u people need the answers, lodge in a complain in the right place and u will get the right answer, bcos bitching and moarning here on this blog with a story that u do not have all the facts about wont help you. lets get all the facts and then fire and curse as we please.

      p.borchard - 2012-11-12 09:34

      "the MEC does not report to anyone" are you nuts? This is exactly why the government thinks it is fine and dandy to do whatever they want, because they have brainwashed the anc voters that they are above the law. MEC's in every country is supposed to serve the country - they are civil servants, just with a freakin ridiculous salary and (in South Africa) zero accountability, because of opinions like yours.

      Chris - 2012-11-12 13:18


  • alexander721 - 2012-11-11 16:23

    this is indicative of a country heading down the road of total collapse. When people in positions of power do what they want when they want and with total disregard for others and their leaders say nothing about it. Corruption, personal power, not answerable to the powers that be....a government that has lost control!!!!!!!!!

  • gaeleen - 2012-11-11 16:24

    What utter crap. He has no right to use the chopper unless he is the flight doctor. How dare he make use of a vital emergency rescue resource. Absolutely disgraced himself.

  • Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga - 2012-11-11 16:25

    What's the fuss all about?He's a doctor,and paramedics are juniors to the doctor.Or maybe because he's a black doctor hence the noise?

      joshua.mcallister.75 - 2012-11-11 16:41

      Whats race got to do with it?!! A teenager was criticaly injured, while he was joy riding (must have been if he wouldn't disclose why he was using the chopper), and needed rapid transport to hospital!

      roslyndavidrose - 2012-11-11 16:56

      Maybe because arrogance cost the life of a child. Black, white or purple, its sheer arrogance and totally unnecessary for our county

      asif.laher.10 - 2012-11-11 17:21

      Got Sweet FA to do with seniority or race Bra. He used an ambulance for personal reasons. Thats pathetic, especially seeing that the ambulance was needed urgently. Imagine if your loved one needed that ambulance Bra. Stop defending the indefensible. Stop playing the race card. That immediately weakens your stance.

      etienne.leroux.1690 - 2012-11-11 17:26

      Please! Black/white has nothing to do with the story!! Yes sure we are one step bellow a Dr but we on the scene of a accident and we do make the call best for the patient! The chopper was called so why did he as a DOCTOR a step above us not turn the chopper around and render his life saving skills to the patient that is now brain dead! Wake up smell the coffee or will u wake up and make a noise when its one of ur family members that needs it!? The PATIENT always comes first in the EMS!!!!

      masibiya1 - 2012-11-11 19:03

      Exactly he's a doctor he should have known better.

      robert.c.porter.1 - 2012-11-11 20:40

      Omg.. If you were a candidate for goverment you would be president.. birds of a feather flock together.

      chris.dickson.773 - 2012-11-12 09:56

      Yes, a doctor indeed....A Witch Doctor!!!!! He and his Cadre's come FROM THE DEVIL.....Bottom line.

      suash - 2012-11-13 11:47

      If this had to happen to one of the children in your profile photo I'm sure your comments would be different. Everybody's blood is red and has a right to live

  • alexander721 - 2012-11-11 16:29

    the people of this country are beginning to get fed up and it is showing through riots, strikes and general impatience from the masses. And tio make it worse the ANC has the gall to blame it on aparthied and the DA. PLease, when are the people going to realise that their party is as fraudulant and false as the promises it made over fifteen years ago.

  • christiaan.niekerk.5 - 2012-11-11 16:30

    WTF!!..... bloody idiot!!!

      Kwanele Mzwanele Masoka - 2012-11-11 18:48


      talana.malherbe - 2012-11-12 08:57

      @Kwanele, very uncalled for and reflects very low character! A child has died here, I hope and pray you never have to go through what this child's parents are going through!

  • gideon.keyser - 2012-11-11 16:30


  • rjledwaba - 2012-11-11 16:38

    I wonder if we'll ever see things as right and wrong,or will we always put colour into every situation! Its exhausting to read comments here because if a black person is in the wrong it's 'incompetence,arrogance,greediness' even where the whole story is not heard. And if its a white person its 'apartheid,racist,etc',this shows that as a nation we'll never agree on anything and for as long as this goes on we are going nowhere

      joshua.mcallister.75 - 2012-11-11 16:43

      I couldn't agree more.

      PointBlank - 2012-11-11 17:33

      the only tim the situation will change is when comment sections are shutdown and stupid racist people have no voice... Unlike on here.

      sonia.swarts - 2012-11-12 01:22

      U right!as u get white racist so u get black racist. Blacks just like to use that word as an way out realy. I have never been a racist but have been called it because I don't agree with the way the goverment is running our country. Unfortunately I am sorry to say they are black or brown seriously has anybody noticed this point. It doesn't make me a racist when I comment. It states that I am not happy with there doings. Somebody will always shout racist....I mean look at the situation a indian boy died because some ass took the ambulance irrelevant if he would have made it or not...consequences for actions. And if it wasn't used for an emergency then who paid for the ride... Come now this is serious it could have been u'r family member or mine. These things need to stop.

  • John - 2012-11-11 16:46

    Stupid thick REPTILIAN public SERVANT has lost sight of the definition of SERVANT. This thing believes it a MASTER! RUBBISH APPOINTEE!!

  • Gorden Park - 2012-11-11 16:52

    Of course race always the issue here (bull bust) an air ambulance is for medical emergency's. So if that was what he was using it for great but I highly doubt it along with millions of others.

  • ivan.vandermerwe.10 - 2012-11-11 16:53

    Arrogant Prick

      Wilma Claudine Hurn - 2012-11-11 16:58

      he said he is a medical doctor, so why did he not flew over to the accident scene and assist the child?

  • mark.morgan.733 - 2012-11-11 16:59

    That is our goverment,the only time they care about our people is when the need votes.And give people empty promises which are forgotten a hour later.

  • phuti.mashau - 2012-11-11 17:01

    Yet another Public Servant misusing government resources!