File picture: INLSA
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.

Zimkitha 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.