Ambulance staff attend to a burn victim. These helpers have been repeatedly attacked by criminals.

Ekurhuleni - With the festive season on the doorstep, the City of Ekurhuleni on Sunday urged motorists and communities to co-operate with its disaster and emergency management services (DEMS). 
 
Ekurhuleni DEMS spokesman William Ntladi said Ekurhuleni was experiencing an increase in attacks on staff, including damage to emergency vehicles and fire station centers. The same was true for Johannesburg.

"In one of the attacks, one member had to discontinue practicing as a firefighter because of the injuries she sustained. Other staff members are undergoing medical treatment and emotional counselling. Several vehicles had to be discontinued because of the damage that occurred during the attacks," Ntladi said in a statement.
 
These attacks were irrational in that they eventually reduced the already strained resources, which were meant to save lives. The attacks affected unarmed emergency personnel in many ways, which would impact negatively on the communities who needed their services.
 
Recent incidents of attacks and abuse of Ekurhuleni emergency personnel and resources included:

- personnel were robbed and assaulted in Somalia informal settlement, Vosloorus on October 29;

- an ambulance was stoned at Greenfield in Palm Ridge on October 30;

- personnel were assaulted and a fire engine shot at in Dukathole informal settlement in Germiston on July 16;

- personnel from Leon Ferreira Fire Station had to dive for cover when shots were fired at them and the fire engine;

- a fire engine was stoned and the windscreen damaged during an attack at Angelo informal settlement on December 17, 2016;

- a fire engine from Zonkizizwe Fire Station was burnt at Moleleki Extention Two on September 4, 2016;

- personnel from the Daveyton Fire Station were shot at by a random gunman while working in the station premises on August 28, 2016

- personnel from Primrose Fire Station sustained injuries and a fire engine was damaged during an attack at the fire station on August 13, 2016; and 

- paramedics were assaulted on the N3 northbound while attending to an accident scene on the November 7, 2016.
 
"The situation calls on all in the society to visit their moral compass and protect emergency personnel who are providing an essential service to the communities," Ntladi said.