The chairperson of the Nyanga Community Policing Forum (CPF) said they were perturbed by the attacks on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the area. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The chairperson of the Nyanga Community Policing Forum (CPF) said they were perturbed by the attacks on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the area, and that it was time residents took a bold step against these incidents.

Martin Makasi has condemned the latest incident on Friday night when two paramedics responding to a call in Nyanga were robbed at gunpoint. According to Health Department spokesperson Byron la Hoe, the incident happened at about 7pm and the officers, a male and female, were robbed of their belongings.

Makasi said: “The problem they have with this incident is that the department didn’t indicate the street where the incident occurred. Had the department done this we could have gone out to the community and talked to the leaders.

“Escorting ambulance or fire-fighting staff is also nothing new in Nyanga. In fact, it has been happening for the past two years. We had several meetings with EMS and community leaders to tackle the attacks on them. We are doing our level best to ensure safe passage for EMS and fire services into Nyanga,” said Makasi.

La Hoe said that as a result of this attack the areas of New Cross Roads and Philippi had been declared red zones until yesterday. This resulted in delays as EMS personnel could not enter these areas without a police escort.

“Such incidents are having a devastating effect on emergency healthcare services. Often these attacks take place in extremely vulnerable communities where emergency services are most needed. We urge all our residents to protect EMS personnel while they are rendering this important service,” he said.

The authorities said there had been 16 attacks on ambulances in the province this year, with most attacks occurring in Delft, Nyanga and Philippi.

In May an ambulance crew was robbed at gunpoint by unknown suspects in Harare, Khayelitsha.

EMS staff talked about incidents in Delft where they had responded to calls for help, only to realise on arrival in the area that they had been lured into a trap.

La Hoe urged residents to report any incidents they witnessed to the nearest local authority.

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