Johannesburg - A normal commute home on the M1, near the Riviera/Killarney offramp, took an unexpected turn for Joburg metro police department (JMPD) inspector Frieda Ramafemo last Tuesday when she was forced to become an emergency midwife.
The inspector was waved down by an Uber driver.
The driver said his pregnant passenger, whose name has not been released, had begun to experience contractions, and said he was worried she would give birth before they reached a hospital.
The inspector then called for an ambulance but was told all ambulances were out on calls.
At that point, Ramafemo, a mother of three and a grandmother of two, said she began to panic.
She said it would be the first time she had seen a birth, let alone assist with one. She said she considered escorting the taxi to a hospital, but was too worried about the woman’s condition.
The Uber driver, who has a wife and children, and the inspector helped calm the woman and had her lie down in the back of the vehicle. Less than 30 minutes after Ramafemo arrived at the scene, the mother had given birth to a healthy baby boy.
“I didn’t know whether I was going to save the baby,” Ramafemo said. “But I had to assist. If I had not stopped, I don’t know what would have happened.”
Just after the child was born, Ramafemo said she saw an ambulance passing, and she flagged it down. Though the ambulance was on its way to another call, the paramedics stopped and assisted the new mother in cutting the umbilical cord and ensuring the baby was okay.
The paramedics then told the officer she must wait with the mother for the next ambulance.
“I’m happy that the baby was saved by the love of God,” Ramafemo said. “The ambulance came just in time. It was a miracle.”
She said the next ambulance with the paramedics arrived after nearly 45 minutes and were shocked to discover that the baby had already been born.
The mother and child were taken to Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital and were discharged the following day.
In a statement, Joburg MMC for public safety Michael Sun commended Ramafemo’s efforts.
“This is a movie moment in reality. We are so proud of inspector Ramafemo for her bravery and humanity in going beyond the call of duty. We wish the mother and baby Zipho good health and we will definitely be visiting them soon,” Sun said.
Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba tweeted: “This is a great story to come across this afternoon. Now this is what we call service with pride.”
Ramafemo added: “As a JMPD officer, the uniform that you are wearing is not yours, it belongs to the community.”