A PARAMEDIC, who parked an ambulance and was spotted braaiing meat at Ebuhlanti on the East London beachfront on Sunday afternoon, has defended his actions.
Emergency core practitioner Siya Kontyo spoke yesterday as the Health Department was considering laying charges against him.
The department expressed concern at the "abuse of the ambulance fleet" after two ambulances were seen at the popular braai spot at the weekend.
Health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said: "Abuse of state resources cannot be tolerated. A few mischievous elements are bringing shame to the service and the department."
Kontyo said the incident had been blown out of proportion.
"My actions have angered a lot of people and I feel it's right to give my side of the story. Every three months we collect money among ourselves at work which we then use to buy meat and braai. We call this 'shifts braai' and they are therapeutic, given the strenuous working environment we find ourselves in," Kontyo said.
The meat is braaied at Ebuhlanti and then taken to the office where it is enjoyed by all the staff members.
He said that on Sunday, before he left work to buy meat and braai it, he had reported to his supervisor. "I also informed our control room centre ... of my whereabouts."
Asked why he could not take his personal vehicle, he said: "I couldn't do that because I was on duty. When I was at Ebuhlanti that afternoon, I received a trauma call about an accident."
Kontyo said he responded to the call and later collected the meat.