Incidents of attacks on paramedics and the hijacking of several ambulances a few months ago have sparkled concerns amongst health workers in the ambulance and emergency services who have protested against the violence as well. Yesterday paramedics were at risk once again when they were caught in gang violence in Hanover Park.
At about 08:00, Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to a certification of death at Galway Court in Hanover Park. The EMS crew was caught in a very traumatic position when gang rivals started shooting.
Western Cape Ambulance Chief, Pumzile Papu could not confirm whether gunshots were fired at the paramedics, but that serious damage was caused to the ambulance. The EMS crew sustained no physical injuries; however, they received trauma counselling.
Hanover Park has been identified as one of the red danger zone for EMS personnel and no EMS medical resources will be entering the area without police escort.
“This will have serious implications on service delivery, as there would be delays both during the day and night that will affect Hanover Park and Cape Town because Ambulances will not go to red danger areas without Police escort,” says Papu.
He also added that police are overstretched and won’t always be available to escort ambulances, however, this is not important to the EMS as the main priority is to ensure that their staff.
“We will not risk the lives our staff members, so people needing our assistance will have to wait until police avail themselves to escort us,” Papu adds.
Staff personnel were informed not to visit areas without police supervision and in the event of the matter escalating, the EMS will have to re-evaluate the situation and act accordingly.
VOC (Loushe Jordaan)