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Paramedics ’should be under police guard’

File Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

File Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 15, 2021

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The DA said no provincial Health Department ambulances should go out to high risk areas without police escorts.

This after a paramedic was injured last week in an alleged hijacking when an ambulance crew were picking up a patient at Baker Road, uMlazi.

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Police provincial spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of attempted murder was being investigated by uMlazi SAPS.

“It is alleged that a woman was shot and wounded when they were ambushed by unknown suspects while travelling in an ambulance. The injured victim was rushed to hospital for medical attention,” Gwala said.

Dr Rishigen Viranna, the DA’s provincial spokesperson on Health, said it was a disgrace that criminals had the audacity to attack a paramedic who provided an essential service and tried to save lives.

“First of all our thoughts and prayers are with the paramedic, we hope she recovers well during this time. We are glad that this immoral and criminal act is being investigated. We call for the case to be expedited so it will be a deterrent for any other criminals and the perpetrators receive the full might of the law,” he said.

Department of Health spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa said: "We are shocked and concerned about the recent attack on our emergency services personnel. We have pleaded with communities before to help find ways to protect paramedics because when they respond to distress calls, they do so in service of the public. However, we have noted improvements in certain areas in this regard. Furthermore, we need to emphasise that such incidents are isolated and do not occur everywhere.”

Maphisa said the department was still “deeply concerned” about two recent incidents in Lamontville, where employees were attacked while responding to calls for help.

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“It is clear that there is a small group of people who are without conscience. What we also know is that criminals come from within our neighbourhoods. Communities should not allow a few individuals to make it impossible for paramedics to perform their work, which is essential, and concerns life and death.”

The Mercury

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