Paramedic Phumzile Dlamini was killed while responding to a call-out in Estcourt, northern KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Supplied
Paramedic Phumzile Dlamini was killed while responding to a call-out in Estcourt, northern KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Supplied

EMS duties ‘should not be at the expense of their lives’, says Hospersa condemning escalating attacks

By Karen Singh Time of article published Nov 11, 2021

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DURBAN - The Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) has condemned the recent attacks on Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel in the country.

According to reports, the union, which has more than 60 000 members in the public and private health sectors, said attacks on EMS staff were on the rise, especially in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

“There have been close to 100 reported EMS attacks in South Africa this year, with fears that this number will increase during the festive season,” said the union today.

Hospersa general secretary Waheed Hoosen said the union was calling on the government to strengthen its efforts in providing a safe working environment for its EMS members.

“Hospersa calls on government to provide a safe work environment which adheres to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. We cannot have a situation where government continues as if it is business as usual while our members’ lives continue to be at risk. The state, as the employer, has a legal obligation to prioritise the safety of our EMS members during the execution of their essential medical service,” he said.

The union said the most recent attack took place on Monday morning when an ambulance was attacked in Vredenburg in the Western Cape.

“Two EMS personnel sustained serious injuries resulting in one of them being rushed to hospital,” it said.

Last month, a KZN EMS worker was killed while another was critically injured when two gunmen ambushed their ambulance.

In Gauteng, another attack was reported last month in which a rock was hurled at a moving ambulance transporting a patient from a car accident scene.

“We strongly condemn the increasing level of EMS attacks. While it is our members’ duty to respond to calls, it should not be at the expense of their lives. It is deplorable that there are still individuals who make false emergency phone calls with the intention to lure EMS personnel in order to rob them,” said Hoosen.

THE MERCURY

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