The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson on health, Dr. Imran Keeka, has made a call on the province’s new health MEC to urgently implement measures to safeguard paramedics following an attack that left two emergency services personnel hospitalised.
The provincial health department said earlier in the day that two paramedics were robbed and shot in the early hours of Wednesday morning following what appeared to be a fake emergency call luring them to the Inanda area of Durban.
The paramedics, from the provincial Emergency Medical Services (EMS), received a phone call around 3am and responded to what they thought was an emergency maternity case. They were directed by a guide to the alleged scene of the emergency and were then robbed and shot. One paramedic sustained a gunshot wound to the back and the other to the wrist. A cellphone was stolen.
KZN health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu described the incident as “sad and barbaric”. She called on communities to work with law enforcement authorities to bring the culprits to book.
Keeka said the DA was “appalled” by the incident, adding that over the past few years, there had been several such attacks, with the issue reaching crisis point last year.
He said Simelane-Zulu needed to seriously implement the DA’s proposals to mitigate attacks on emergency services personnel. These included dash-cams being fitted on ambulances, emergency response vehicles being fitted with smash-and-grab equipment, self defence training for paramedics, and police escorts for ambulances responding to provincial hot spots.
“These proposals were ignored by former KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo. It is now incumbent on MEC Simelane-Zulu to consider them as a matter of urgency,” said Keeka.
– African News Agency (ANA)