by Siviwe Zibi
City of Johannesburg’s Public Safety Department held a media briefing following an attack of paramedics in Cosmo City and Dobsonville in the past week. On Monday 29 June 2019 an ambulance was dispatched to an assault case in Cosmo City Ext 2 where they found an adult male patient that had allegedly been assaulted by community members.
It is alleged that when they attempted to give medical treatment to the patient, the community members became hostile and started to assault the crew and patient by throwing rocks. The ambulance which was part of the fleet which the executive mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, handed over on 20 June 2019 was damaged. The crew managed to load and transport the patient to Cosmo City Fire Station where they provided further assistance in medical treatment.
The second incident occurred on 27 June 2019 EMS responded to a domestic incident in Dobsonville, while they were busy treating the patient inside the ambulance, two gunmen opened the ambulance and robbed the crew of their belongings then fled from the scene.
Acting HOD Chief David Tembe said police vehicles will escort ambulances when they respond to hotspots in the city between 22h00 and 06h00 and the purpose of this is to protect the emergency personnel and community members.
“A number of measures will be put to place to protect the crew members when they are on the scene. We will ensure that our ems personnel are fully supported.We need to ensure that paramedics are safe when executing their duties and we will implement measures that will enable them to continue serving the community without fear,” said Leah Knott MMC of Community Development.
The Public Safety department urged residents to protect paramedics while they are on duty and they will also continue to engage with relevant community stakeholders to assist in curbing this crime.