Call for probe after medic arrested
Barbara Maregele and Sapa
SAFETY and Security MEC Dan Plato is calling for an urgent investigation after police officers arrested a Medicare paramedic at an accident scene near Franschhoek.
Medicare Emergency Response Paramedic Garth van Zyl was arrested for allegedly obstructing police in carrying out their duties at the scene, where a vehicle transporting sheep overturned on Tuesday.
A video shows two police officers escorting Van Zyl past the accident scene to their van, where they try to push him in after arresting him.
The medic is heard asking if he could enter the van himself because he had a broken leg that was healing. The officers then said they would use “necessary force” against him.
After watching the video online, Plato said he had written to provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer asking for an urgent investigation into the matter.
“The conduct of the two police officers in the report raises serious questions about their ability to manage an accident scene,” he said.
Plato said the officers shown in the video needed more training on how to secure an accident scene, and had to learn how to accept help from officials who were qualified to do so.
Plato plans to meet Health MEC Theuns Botha early next week to determine if the incident was isolated.
Western Cape police spokesman Andre Traut said Van Zyl was arrested for hindering a police officer in the performance of his duties.
“The circumstances are still under investigation, and this office is at this point unfortunately not in a position to comment on the finer aspects of the matter,” Traut said. He said Van Zyl was released on warning the same day and told to appear in the Paarl Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
According to the Medicare EMR Facebook page, the case was postponed until February 12.
Comment could not be obtained from the National Prosecuting Authority.