Is al ‘n geruime tyd dat noodpersoneel of paramedici aangeval en selfs doodgemaak, geskiet, beroof word as hul menselewens wil red. Dis ‘n siek wêreld en land waarin ons leef. En hierdie tendens geld ook vir almal van ons, om weer eens te kyk na jou eie veiligheid en beveiliging, maak nie saak watter beroep jy beoefen nie. Boere moet dieselfde doen. Hulle voorsien voedsel en is die begin van die voedselketting. Dieselfde vir enige besighede wat so gekaap word of besteel word. Die enigste wat baat vind by die misdaad is die regering en hul agente
2016 IN SOUTH AFRICA
EWN took a ride with an EMS crew that has recently been attacked in the Western Cape. Dimitri Beukes and Rosalin Mouwers have both been involved in recent assaults. Here they talk about what happened and how the events are affecting their jobs of saving lives.
2017 IN SOUTH AFRICA
29 Desember 2018
South African paramedics started carrying guns this week – to protect their own lives as they try to save others’ lives.
Early on Friday morning, two Cape Town paramedics were held up at gunpoint en route to the Melomed Hospital in Mitchells Plain with a code red patient in their ambulance – they stopped to attend to a man lying in the road, but it was just a ruse for him to draw his gun and hold them up.
Last week, the president of the SA Emergency Personnel Union (Saepu), Mpho Mpogeng, called on all the union’s 7000 members to arm themselves over the festive season following a spate of more than 30 attacks on members in the past six months.
“Our position is very clear,” Mpogeng told Independent Media on Friday. “We are treating fire with fire.
“We don’t have to be apologetic when dealing with crime because crime will remain crime.”
He said the union had tried to hold talks with the national and provincial departments of health as well as the SAPS but nothing had come of its efforts.
Mpogeng said ever since the union had issued its call there had barely been any attacks on its members.
“It’s happening, our paramedics are arming themselves and going out on duty. This is our only option, we are on our own.
“If government had issued a statement like we did a long time ago, we wouldn’t be talking about this matter now. But they are cowards and do nothing to protect emergency workers.”
The union’s call, though, has been condemned by several quarters of society, including the national director of emergency medical services and disaster management at the health department, Raveen Naidoo, who asked the union to retract its call – which it has refused to do.
Gun Free SA expressed its shock at Saepu’s call. While conceding that more and more paramedics were being attacked, Gun Free SA director Adele Kirsten said arming paramedics was not the solution.
“We know that arming people increases the potential for violence. (A gun) is a good offensive weapon, which is why you would arm your police force or military, but it’s not a good defensive weapon, so all the evidence shows that you increase your risk of being injured or dying.”
Naidoo said they were completely against the idea.
“All health establishments in the country are gun-free zones and EMS is no exception to that,” said Naidoo.
“We have identified and taken steps to address this issue of attacks on EMS personnel but we cannot allow them to carry firearms to work.”
The National Department of Health said while it understood the concerns of workers, it could not condone their arming themselves.
Mpogeng said his members had been warned dockets would be opened against them for inciting violence if they armed themselves. “I don’t think that people protecting themselves is inciting violence. The very same people who are criticising us don’t have the balls to address the issue. I’m sure most of these people know deep down that what we are doing is right, but won’t support us in public,” he said.
Gareth Jamieson, owner of KwaZulu-Natal-based Rescue Care, said he had been carrying a firearm while on duty for some time. “It’s not a nice industry to be in. I carry a firearm with me. And I allow my employees to do so although I don’t encourage it.”
Other paramedics interviewed this week did not support the union’s call. A paramedic in the Western Cape who was robbed on duty and whose life was threatened said: “Using dangerous weapons will only make us a bigger target.”
The two paramedics who were held up in Cape Town on Friday morning were robbed of their cellphones, medical cards, an undisclosed amount of cash and a Swiss Army knife.
Salama Joseph, a manager at the Melomed Hospital condemned the attack. “There seems to be no solution from Safety and Security to protect medics.”
An EMS crew were robbed of their personal belongings while attending to a patient in the back of their ambulance in George on Saturday night.
This occurred hours before another EMS crew was forced to drive away with a patient inside the ambulance after angry Site B residents wanted to enter the vehicle in Khayelitsha
imkitha Mquteni, spokesperson for health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, said both incidents have been reported to the police and “the circumstances around the robbery in George are being investigated”.
The attacks came less than a week after scores of paramedics marched to Parliament to highlight concerns relating to their safety and working conditions.
Mquteni said that services in both George and Khayelitsha “will continue” as these areas “have not been declared red zones”.
She said the affected crew were receiving counselling and that personal belongings stolen from the crew were not specified in both incidents.
Mquteni said if an area was declared a red zone, no EMS vehicle or staff would enter without a police escort, which would result in delayed response times and delayed emergency medical care.
“Both crews were unharmed, but are receiving counselling,” said Mquteni.
“In light of the recent jail sentence handed down for similar criminal attacks on EMS, we request members of the community to come forward with information, so they can put a stop to these senseless attacks.”
Mbombo urged the communities of George and Khayelitsha to assist the police in ensuring that “the perpetrators see their day in court”.
“An attack on EMS staff is an attack on the entire community. I commend the ladies and gentlemen in green for their dedication, even though they work under such difficult conditions,” said Mbombo.
Site B Community Policing Forum chairperson Ndikho Weni urged community members to come forward with information that would lead to to the arrest of the culprits.
“Paramedics are providing an essential service to the community and such attacks could deprive someone of getting help,” he said.
Meanwhile, firefighters came under attack when they responded to a fire in Jim se Bos informal settlement near Philippi yesterday morning.
Four fire engines, two water tankers and more than 20 firefighters responded to the incident, but when they arrived at the scene, they were pelted with stones and had to withdraw.
As a result of the fire, 50 people have been left homeless after their dwellings were destroyed.
Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Theo Layne said Law enforcement including police and Metro police were requested when the crowd started assaulting firefighters when they arrived at the scene.