KZN Health MEC describes fatal shooting of a paramedic rushing patients to hospital as 'barbaric'
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Durban: KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane has described the murder of a female paramedic as, “outrageous, barbaric and cowardly”.
Simelane said two paramedics were ambushed in Escourt in the early hours of Monday morning while en route to attend to a patient.
Phumzile Dlamini, 40, an Intermediate Life Support paramedic with 10 years experience and a mother of three, died after being shot twice. Her crew mate, whose name is being withheld, is in a critical condition.
Simelane said Dlamini had been preparing to rush a patient to hospital who had sustained a fractured leg.“
She said they had to detour to a shooting incident, where a patient had been shot at his home in the Mabhanoyini area near Estcourt.
“After securing the patient, they suddenly heard gunshots coming from outside.”
She said Dlamini sustained two gunshot wounds and died on scene.
“Her crew mate sustained three gunshots and was rushed to hospital, where he remains in a critical condition.
The ambulance was ridden with cartridges of high-calibre bullets which were found at the scene.
“This deepens the mystery of why innocent paramedics found themselves at the receiving end of such untold brutality.
Simelane has sent her condolences to the Dlamini family, and also called on law enforcement authorities to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to book.
She said: “An incident like this is spine-chilling. It is barbaric, cowardly and completely shocking.”
Simelane said Dlamini leaves behind her husband and three children, aged 21, 19, and 12.
“What must her family do, now that her life has been snuffed out so suddenly, and so senselessly?”
Simelane said this was not the first time paramedics were attacked.
“Incidents where paramedics get called out to emergency scenes, only to get robbed and stabbed, or subjected to various other forms of violence and hostility, have become commonplace. This really, really has to stop. That is why we are calling on our communities to isolate and expose these heartless thugs.”
She concluded, saying: “We really don’t want a situation where our paramedics refuse to work at night, because then people whose lives can be saved will start dying. So, it's in the interest of all of us that justice is served, and that paramedics are protected at all times.”